Eggs in Purgatory with Courgette (or Italian Style Eggs with Courgette). Just imagine eggs simmered in slightly fiery tomato sauce loaded with soft caramelized courgette. This recipe requires a handful of ingredients and is ideal to serve for breakfast, brunch, lunch, or dinner! The best part? Getting to dip all the bread in the world into the runny egg yolk and sauce.
If summer gives you courgette, we have to make the most of them right? They are so versatile and tasty. I love them sautéed, raw, baked, fried, in soups… You name it! This time I’ve used them to make a summery version of an Italian classic, Eggs in Purgatory.
What are Eggs in Purgatory?
Classic Eggs in Purgatory are a Southern Italian dish consisting of eggs cooked in a spicy tomato sauce. To put it simple, it is like an Italian version of Shakshuka (or Shakshuka is a Middle Eastern version of eggs in purgatory).
The dish comes from Naples, and it’s from here where it also gets its name. The story is as follows: Naples is full of chapels containing images of souls surrounded by flames. Eggs in Purgatory try to imitate that: the egg whites represent the souls, which are trying to escape from the fire, represented the fiery tomato sauce. It may sound creepy, but I find it cool at the same time, don’t you too?
How to Adapt this Eggs in Purgatory with Courgette Recipe?
This recipe is so versatile and it’s perfect to use any veggies you have in your fridge. The options are endless which is what makes this dish so incredible! Here you have some ideas.
- Aubergine: you can add aubergine to the recipe or simply replace the courgette with it. Cut it with the same size as the courgette and add it to the pan at the same time.
- Spinach: before adding the eggs, you could toss in some spinach and cook them for a couple of minutes until wilted. Then add the eggs.
- Chard: chop the stalk finely and add it with the courgette. If you are replacing the courgette with it, then add it in the same step while omitting the courgette. Before adding the eggs, you could toss in the leaves and cook them for a couple of minutes until wilted. Then add the eggs
- Peppers: I am not the biggest fan, but if you love them, at them finely chopped at the same time as the tomatoes.
No Fresh Tomatoes?
If you don’t happen to have cherry tomatoes in hand or any variety of fresh ripe tomatoes, you can easily substitute with tomato sauce, canned tomatoes or a sofrito. In this case, first sautée your veggies and once they are golden add the sauce and let it all simmer for 10 minutes until the sauce has slightly thickened.
Toppings for the Eggs in Purgatory with Courgette
- Fresh herbs: I love using fresh herbs. This time I have used basil to honour summeer, but feel free to use chives, cilantro or parsley.
- Cheese: You can also add crumbled feta, crumbled goat cheese or some Parmesan before serving.
- Bread: well not actually a topping but an indispensable side!
If you want more ideas to adapt these Eggs in Purgatory with Courgette or have a question about how you can use up what you have left in the fridge, don’t hesitate to ask me in the comments below.
Tips for the Best Runny Yolks
I like my eggs oozing to dip all the bread into them. If you love them like me, then these tips can be helpful so as not to overcook them.
- The more sauce the better. When you make the indents to place the eggs in them, if there’s a lot of sauce you can make sure the well is deep enough while there’s still sauce at the bottom. This prevents the yolk from directly touching the pan while the heat of the sauce helps cook the egg white (make sure the egg white is well surrounded by it).
- If you don’t mind getting that white film on top of the yolks, you can cover the pan with a lid to accelerate the cooking. If after a couple of minutes the egg white is not quite set yet, I’d suggest you leave it uncovered. Otherwise the steam held by the lid is going to cook the yolks.
If You Like Eggs and Veggies You’ll Definitely Love
If you make this Eggs in Purgatory with Courgette recipe, be sure to leave a comment and rate it. Hearing from you is everything! Oh, and don’t forget to tag me on Instagram, I absolutely love seeing your creations. Happy cooking!
Eggs in Purgatory with Courgette
- 25 cm diameter skillet
- 3 L eggs - or 4 S (see notes)
- 4 garlic cloves - minced
- ½-1 tsp chili flakes
- 1 medium courgette - cubed
- 500 g cherry tomatoes
- 10 g basil leaves - plus extra to garnish
- extra virgin olive oil
- Heat some olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. There should be enough oil to generously coat the whole surface.
- Add the garlic and chili flakes, and cook for 2 minutes stirring at all times so the garlic doesn’t burn.
- Add the tomatoes and courgette, and season with salt. Cook until the tomatoes start to burst, about 5 minutes. At this point, start smashing the tomatoes with the help of a wooden spoon, potato masher or spatula. Add the basil and simmer for 10-15min until saucy. If it gets too thick, you can thin it with water. You can remove the cherry tomato skins if they bother you.
- Reduce the heat to medium-low. Using the back of a spoon, make a well in the sauce for each egg. Crack one egg in a small bowl and gently slip it into one of the wells. Repeat with the rest. Cover the pan, and cook until whites are set but yolks are still runny, 4–6 minutes. Top with more basil and serve with a lot of bread.
- It can serve from 2 to 4 people depending on whether you are serving it as part of a larger meal or as one dish meal. If using smaller eggs you can fit up to 4 eggs in the pan.
- Make-Ahead: the tomato and courgette sauce can be made ahead, up to 3 days. Let it cool, keep in an airtight container and chill. Reheat it over medium until simmering before adding the eggs.