I first ate this in my late teens when I was working as a chambermaid in Italy: it was easy, inexpensive and - with good bread to dip in it - the perfect quick post-work food-fix; indeed, it remains a constant in my life. Perfect as a hangover-soothing breakfast or back-from-the-bar snack, it provides (at any time) instant and effortless comfort. Yes, I admire the technical bravura of the classically trained chef, but you can never really beat the simple pleasures that come from the home stove.
And actually, should you find yourself quite understandably hungry after an episode of The Taste, you could rustle this up in minutes with ingredients that you probably have at home anyway.Eggs in Purgatory
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 small clove garlic, peeled
1⁄4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 14-ounce can diced tomatoes
1⁄2 teaspoon kosher salt or
1⁄4 teaspoon table salt, or to taste
2–3 teaspoons, grated
grated parmesan (optional)
chili oil (optional)
1. Pour the olive oil into a frying pan, then grate in (or mince and add) the garlic, scatter in the red pepper flakes, and put the pan over a medium heat, stirring, for 1 minute.
2. Tip in the tomatoes, stir in the salt, and let it come to a bubble. It’s got to be hot enough to poach an egg in.
3. Crack in the egg (or eggs), sprinkle the Parmesan over it, leaving some of the yellow yolk still exposed, and partially cover with a lid. Let it bubble for 5 minutes, by which time the white should be set and the yolk still runny, but keep an eye on it.
4. Remove from the heat and serve—if so wished—sprinkled with a little more Parmesan and some chili oil, and some bread to dunk in.
Copyright © 2012 by Nigella Lawson, Pabulum Productions Limited. Published in the United States by Clarkson Potter/Publishers. Photographs © copyright 2012 by Petrina Tinslay