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by Mario Batali (Clarkson Potter Publishers, 2000)

I love Mario Batali and all his works. My library would not be complete without all his books, and I wallow in them regularly. For now, I am bringing to you his Eggs in Purgatory, which you should be bearing in mind for a comforting supper or hangover-salving brunch.

Uova in Purgatorio (Eggs in Purgatory)
I like this simple egg dish for New Year's Day because it makes the hungover guests feel like they didn't miss breakfast when they show up at 3 in the afternoon.  Once cooked, the eggs can sit for a while at room temperature.



Serves 6 to 10

  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium red onion, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup Gaeta olives, pitted and left whole
  • 1 28-ounce can peeled plum tomatoes, drained and cut into the 1/2- inch strips
  • Kosher salt
  • 10 eggs
  • 1/4 cup basil cut into thin ribbons
  • 1/4 cup freshly grated caciotta cheese




  1. In a 12- to 14- inch nonstick saute pan, heat the oil over medium heat until just smoking.  Add the olives and tomatoes, season lightly with salt, and cook slowly until the tomatoes start to break down, about 15 minutes.
  2. Carefully crack the eggs into the pan, keeping them whole and separated from each other.  Cover the pan with a lid or foil and cook until the egg whites have set but the yolks are still runny, 3 to 4 minutes.  Sprinkle with basil and grated cheese and serve from the pan.