A popular Italian breakfast or brunch dish, the 'purgatory' in the name refers to the fiery tomato sauce that the eggs are poached in which gets its heat from spicy 'nduja sausage. Francesco Mazzei recommends serving a little extra 'nduja on the side – spread a little on a piece of toasted sourdough to dunk in the runny yolks from a delicious medley of baked, poached and boiled eggs to achieve breakfast perfection.
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Start with the tomato sauce. Place the onion and half the oil in a large pan and let it sweat slowly over a medium-low heat for around 15 minutes or until soft. Be careful not to let the onions colour – if it looks like they might catch add a splash of water to the pan
150g of white onion, finely sliced
1 tbsp of extra virgin olive oil
Add the tomatoes, season with salt and leave to simmer over a low heat for 45 minutes. The sauce should be quite thick and rich, but if too dry add a little water as needed. Remove the pan from the heat and set aside
500g of large ripe tomato, preferably on the vine, roughly chopped
Place the remaining oil in another pan with the chopped garlic and cook over a medium-low heat until almost golden brown. Stir in the basil leaves and strain the flavoured oil through a sieve into the tomato mixture
1 tbsp of extra virgin olive oil
1 garlic clove, chopped
10g of basil leaves
Whisk the sauce to break up the tomatoes, then pass through a sieve to create a smooth sauce. Check the seasoning and add a little more salt if needed. Weigh out 500g for the baked eggs and store any remaining sauce in fridge for a few days, or freeze for up to 3 weeks
When ready to cook the baked eggs, bring a pan of water to the boil over a medium heat then boil the whole quail eggs for 2 minutes. Carefully scoop out with a slotted spoon and cool immediately in a bowl of iced water. Peel the cooled quail eggs and set aside for later
4 quail eggs
Place a shallow casserole dish over a low heat and add the diced roasted peppers and 'nduja. When the 'nduja has softened with the heat, add the tomato sauce, chopped basil and chicken stock
200g of roasted red peppers, diced
20g of 'nduja, plus extra to serve
20g of fresh basil, roughly chopped
200ml of chicken stock
When the tomato sauce starts to simmer, crack in 4 of the hen eggs and allow to cook slowly
Meanwhile, bring a pan of water to the boil and poach the remaining 4 hen eggs until just set. Scoop out and add to the tomato sauce, along with the reserved boiled quail eggs, for the last minute of cooking
To serve, divide the eggs and tomato sauce between serving dishes, allowing 1 baked, 1 poached and 2 quail eggs per person. Scatter over the mixed fresh herbs, grate over a little pecorino cheese and drizzle over a little extra virgin oil, serving immediately with the toasted sourdough on the side
mixed herbs, such as chervil, basil and chives, to garnish
10g of pecorino, grated
extra virgin olive oil
4 slices of sourdough bread, toasted
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