Interpreting Catholic metaphors is not one of my specialties, and it's probably for the best. I'm not exactly sure what relationship tomato sauce has with temporal punishment and eternal purification. But I do know that this recipe, which combines the unlikely duo of marinara sauce and eggs on crusty toasted bread, is totally delicious.
The recipe I used came from the online newsletter Franny's, named after and produced by the Italian restaurant Franny's near my Brooklyn apartment. One evening, they cooked this for the restaurant staff's "family meal." The interesting twist here is the inclusion of Tabasco sauce, replacing the more traditional red pepper flakes, which gives the whole thing a subtle hot sauce vinegary flavor. I was lucky to have a little tomato sauce in the fridge already (Mario Batali's recipe, my favorite), but the instructions below offer a quick sauce for those who don't.
If you're not making this for dinner, this is a killer prepare-ahead brunch dish to throw in the oven when guests arrive. By baking it rather than simmering on the stove, it's easier to make for a crowd.
- 4 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 clove garlic, thinly sliced
- 1 small white or yellow onion, minced
- 1 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes
- (Alternatively, replace the above ingredients with a leftover tomato sauce)
- 2-4 teaspoons Tabasco sauce
- Sea salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
- 8 eggs
- 8 slices thickly cut rustic Italian bread
- 1/4 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
Preheat the oven to 375ºF. In a large skillet or saucepan, heat the olive oil over medium heat and saute the garlic and onion until lightly brown, about ten minutes. Add the tomatoes and bring to a boil, then lower to a simmer and cook for 20 minutes, until the sauce thickens.
Bake uncovered for 12-15 minutes, until the whites are set and the yolks are still a bit runny. In the last five minutes of cooking, put the bread in the oven to toast.
Serve the eggs with sauce on toast, and top with Parmigiano-Reggiano. Drizzle with olive oil and serve immediately.