When I wrote about Eggs in Purgatory for this column awhile back, I was amazed at the number of commenters who declared that tomatoes and eggs should never appear together in the same recipe. Some called it a "phobia." It mystified me, because Eggs in Purgatory—essentially a simple tomato sauce with eggs cracked into it and simmered until the whites are just set—is serious comfort food and one of my favorite egg dishes. I love the way the yolks melt into the sauce.
Obviously this recipe won't convince the haters, but those who are down with tomatoes and eggs might love this new Moroccan twist on the recipe, which I found on Food52. Not happy with a boring tomato sauce, the recipe amps up the flavor with merguez, a spicy lamb sausage found in North African cuisine, then switches out regular tomatoes for the "fire roasted" variety. A hit of smoked paprika and a Moroccan spice blend called ras el hanout (a curry powder such as garam masala can serve as approximate substitute) gives it a smoky depth.
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1 large onion, small dice
- 4 large garlic cloves, peeled and minced
- 1 pound merguez sausage, sliced 1/2-inch thick
- 1 tablespoon ras el hanout
- 1 teaspoon Spanish sweet smoked paprika
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 2 fifteen-ounce cans fire-roasted tomatoes
- 8 extra-large eggs
- 1/2 cup roughly chopped cilantro, stems included
- 2 tablespoons harissa (optional)
- Warm crusty bread, for serving
In a large (12-inch) pan, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring occassionally, until golden, then add the garlic and cook for 2 minutes more. Add the merguez sausage slices and cook for a few more minutes, until almost cooked through.
Lower the heat to medium-low and add the paprika, ras el hanout, and salt. Cook until the spices marry and lightly toast, about 1 minute. Add the tomatoes and bring to a boil, then simmer for a few minutes until thickened.
Crack the eggs into the sauce and cover. Simmer gently until the whites are set and the yolk is still runny.
Spoon some sauce into shallow bowls and top with the eggs. Sprinkle with cilantro and, if desired, dollop with a little harissa. Serve with the bread.