Local Hawaii ingredients used with an international flair
Friday, July 08, 2011
A hell of a good egg
by Nanette Geller
OK, technically, uova in purgatorio is eggs in purgatory, not hell. But then, I’m probably making it hotter than most Italians would. This is another of those classic dishes that come together quickly, using ingredients we usually have on hand, that winds up tasting like a special treat.
Start by sautéing an onion in olive oil with a pinch of salt, sliced if you like it chunky, diced if you prefer a smoother sauce. We like chunky. Have you noticed that practically everything I cook starts with sautéed onion? Here, I used a red onion from Pit Farm. I let it get medium brown before adding the rest of the aromatics, which don’t take as long.
It’s completely non-traditional, but I also like to add some minced fresh ginger (also from Pit), which I think goes really well with tomatoes. I added a couple of sliced Thai chilies (from Pit), but if you want less heat you could use something milder. If I’m out of fresh chilies I use crushed dry ones, or else add a spoonful of Chinese-style chili-garlic sauce together with the tomatoes.
Minced garlic, which burns easily, goes in after the other aromatics. When the garlic is fragrant I add a can of diced tomatoes (14 ounces for the two of us). Feel free to use crushed tomatoes for a smoother sauce. In goes a bay leaf and a couple of cinnamon leaves from Wailea Ag Group (or a good shake of Ceylon cinnamon). Freshly ground black pepper, taste for salt, cover and simmer. Cinnamon, like ginger, is my own variation.
After about 15 minutes, the whole apartment smells fantastic. This is when Larry magically appears in the kitchen to ask how long till dinner. Actually, the sauce can be prepared ahead to this point. I sometimes make extra and put half away for another night. If it’s too thin, just simmer uncovered for a few minutes. We like it pretty thick.
When we’re ready to eat, I slip a couple of eggs right into the hot sauce and simmer, covered, until the white is barely set and the yolk is still runny. This is a duck egg from Blue Lotus but chicken eggs are fine. Either way, for undercooked eggs I would only use very fresh eggs from a trusted source.
A nice extra touch is a lightly-toasted slice of crusty country-style bread (Ba-Le Bakery) placed under the egg and sauce. The chopped Italian parsley (Milner Farm) adds fresh flavor as well as looking pretty. Feel free to grate on some cheese at the table.
A simple salad, a glass of wine, more bread – heavenly!
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