Bridget Lancaster, co-host of TV’s “America’s Test Kitchen,” shared some favorite recipes for feeding family and friends in “Cooking at Home with Bridget and Julia” (America’s Test Kitchen, $35).
Lancaster writes that one of most beloved in-a-hurry dishes showcases eggs. Eggs in Purgatory is a meatless lunch or dinner concoction made with eggs broken into a perky tomato-rich base. The eggs cook enough for the whites to congeal, leaving the creamy yolks loose enough to meld just-right with the rich tomato sauce when the tines of a diner’s fork intrude. If you prefer soft-set, no-run yolks, you are welcome to cook them a little longer (see Step #4).
It’s served with thick slabs of toasted artisanal-style Italian bread that offers a crunchy texture contrast and is perfect for scooping up any stray bits.
Yield: 4 servings, see cook’s notes
8 (3/4-inch thick) slices rustic Italian bread
7 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus extra for drizzling
4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1/4 cup finely chopped onion
1 tablespoon tomato paste
3/4 to 1 1/4 teaspoons dried red pepper flakes, amount to suit your taste
Salt and pepper
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1 cup fresh basil leaves, plus 2 tablespoons chopped, divide use
1 (28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes
8 large eggs; see cook’s notes
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
Cook’s notes: I find it easier to use 6 eggs rather than 8 because it is easier to fit them into the sauce in the pan. It’s your choice. In that case it serves either three as a two-egg entrée, or 6 as a smaller portion that would need a big green salad or vegetable side dish to round out the meal.
1. Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat broiler. Arrange bread slices on baking sheet in a single layer and drizzle first sides with 2 tablespoons oil; flip slices and drizzle with 2 tablespoons oil. Broil until deep golden brown, about 2 to 3 minutes per side (keep an eye on them to prevent burning). Set aside and heat oven to 400 degrees.
2. Heat remaining 3 tablespoons oil in oven-safe 12-inch skillet over medium heat until shimmering. Add garlic and cook until light golden, about 2 minutes. Add onion, tomato paste, dried red pepper flakes, 1 teaspoon salt, and oregano. Cook, stirring occasionally, until rust colored, about 4 minutes. Add basil leaves and cook until wilted, about 30 seconds. Stir in tomatoes and bring to gentle simmer. Reduce heat to medium-low and continue to simmer until slightly thickened, about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
3. Remove skillet from heat and let sit 2 minutes, to cool slightly. Crack 1 egg into small bowl. Use a rubber spatula to clear a 2-inch diameter well in sauce, exposing skillet bottom. Using spatula to hold well open, immediately pour in egg. Repeat with remaining eggs, evenly spacing remaining eggs around perimeter with one egg in center.
4. Season each egg with salt and pepper. Cook over medium heat, covered, until egg whites are just beginning to set but are still translucent with some watery patches, about 3 minutes. Uncover skillet and transfer to oven. Bake until eggs whites are set and no watery patches remain, 4 to 5 minutes for slightly runny yolks, or about 6 minutes for soft-cooked yolks, rotating skillet halfway through baking.
5. Sprinkle with Parmesan and chopped basil; drizzle with extra oil if desired. Serve with toasted bread.
Source: Adapted from “Cooking at Home with Bridget and Julia” (America’s Test Kitchen, $35)
Cooking question? Contact Cathy Thomas at cathythomascooks@gmail. com
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