The Food Matters Project is a weekly recipe share based on the best-selling cookbook The Food Matters Cookbook: 500 Revolutionary Recipes for Better Living, by Mark Bittman. Each week myself and fifty other food bloggers cook a recipe selected by that week’s host, adding our own interpretations, insights and experiences. The result is a forum that promotes healthier eating habits centred around plants and a lifestyle more conscious of the world around us.
This recipe is very, very different from the original, “Curried Tomato Soup with Hard-Boiled Eggs,” this week’s FMP entry (you can find this recipe on Joanne’s blog, Eats Well with Others). My husband and curry do not go together. He’s very much a meat and potato kind of guy. Not only is it steak and spuds for my man, but it’s a struggle to get him to try something new. Think of a toddler who refuses to try something new because it’s not coated in ketchup or cheese. That’s my hubby. Of course, not everything needs to be topped with ketchup or cheese for him to consume, but I think you get my drift.
I must admit though, since we got married, he has become a little more open-minded when it comes to trying new things. He no longer balks at the concept of “sweet stuff” and meat prepared together. My low and slow baby back ribs convinced him that some brown sugar does wonderful things to pork. His aversion to vegetables has also improved and realizes that dinner does not have to consist of a gigantic piece of meat every day of the week.
But, and this is a big but, there are many dishes and cuisines that will not fly. For one, he will never try sushi. The idea of raw fish – even though most rolls are made with cooked seafood – totally turns him off. Fruit with meat or in main courses is another and exotic spices and flavours is a no-no as well. Indian unfortunately, falls under this category. The flavours are just a bit too foreign, a little far from home and from his comfort zone. But that’s ok, everyone has their likes and dislikes, plus sushi and Indian are dishes that I enjoy eating out and do so quite frequently so I don’t miss making it at home.
For this recipe I took my inspiration from Bittman’s own variation, “Curried Tomato Soup with Poached Eggs.” When I read poached eggs and tomatoes, I automatically thought of Eggs in Purgatory. An Italian dish where eggs are poached in a tomato sauce, hence the purgatory. I first encountered this recipe on an episode of David Rocco’s Dolce Vita. Whenever I watch this show I feel so strongly compelled to drop everything and move to Italy. It’s a program that not only showcases the beauty of La Cucina Povera, simple Italian peasant cooking, but it also highlights living the ”sweet life” in Italy. So while my variation is far removed from the Indian inspired original, there are some parallels. In either case, eggs and tomatoes never looked so good!
Eggs in Purgatory
In Marcella’s recipe for the tomato sauce she calls for the tomatoes to be drained. I kept the juice to give the sauce a looser consistency, better for poaching the eggs.
Don’t be put off by the amount of garlic required for this recipe. Since it’s not browned, which enhances flavour, but rather simmered in the sauce, the flavour is rather mild.
Tomato Sauce recipe adapted from “tomato Sauce with Sautéed Vegetables and Olive Oil” and ”Tomato Sauce with Garlic and Basil,” Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking, Marcella Hazan. Eggs in Purgatory technique taken from Uova in Purgatorio, Mario Batali
2 cups canned imported Italian plum tomatoes, with juice
5 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 small onion diced
5 garlic cloves, peeled and chopped fine
Freshly ground black pepper
2 to 4 eggs
1/4 cup grated hard cheese. I used Asiago, but you can also use Parmigiano Reggiano or Pecorino
3 or 4 torn basil leaves to garnish
In a sauté pan, add the olive oil and onion and cook over medium heat until it becomes a pale gold colour. Put in the tomatoes, garlic, salt and several grindings of pepper and turn up the heat to medium high. Cook for 20 to 25 minutes, or until the oil floats free from the tomato. Taste and correct for salt.
Crack an egg in a small bowl or ramekin. Make a well in the sauce and carefully pour the cracked egg into the pan. Repeat this with the other eggs, keeping each one separate from the other. Cover the pan with a lid or foil until the egg whites are set, but the yolks are still runny; 3 to 4 minutes. Sprinkle with freshly grated cheese and torn basil leaves. Serve immediately from the pan with crusty bread.