Purgatory ain’t hell and it sure isn’t heaven!
In the catholic faith there are three places for the soul to go when the body dies. Those who have committed mortal sins go to hell. Those who have been virtuous go to heaven. Those who will make it to heaven, but still need a bit of work first, go to purgatory. It is kinda like getting into the University but before you can do anything, you have to pass your remedial math and english classes.
Dante, in his work The Divine Comedy, takes a journey through purgatory on his way to heaven. In it he sees souls on terraces of a mountain trying to remediate for each of the seven roots of sinfulness.
- On the first terrace are the proud. They are made to walk around with heavy stones on their back while they learn humility.
- The second terrace is for the envious. They are cloaked in grey and their eyes are sewn shut. They are made to listen to stories of generosity. It makes me think of the movies of “re-education camps” with a loudspeaker blaring lessons to be learned.
- The third terrace is for the wrathful and is full of acrid smoke.
- Souls run around constantly and without purpose on the fourth terrace. They are making up for sloth.
- The fifth terrace contains those who covet. Their punishment is to lay face down on the ground, unable to move and unable to obtain what they covet.
- The gluttonous are starving and fruit on a tree is forever out of reach on the sixth terrace.
- The final terrace is reserved for the lustful. In order to purge their sins they must run through walls of flame
I’m not sure what these eggs did to deserve to go to purgatory, but I’m glad they did. They were delicious. I’m glad there were only two for me, else I’d have to go to the sixth terrace!
This recipe required passata. I’d never heard of it before and had to do a little research. It is simply pureed, uncooked tomatoes. I found a jar of it on the bottom shelf in the Italian section of the “ethnic” aisle of my local grocery store.
A lot happens in this dish, so I did all of my prep work ahead of time. Notice each of the six eggs I decided to cook are in their own dish.
These are a little wide for lardons, but they worked. Next time I’d probably double the amount of bacon as it kinda got lost in the dish.
The red sauce.
The eggs are suspended between heaven and hell.
Oh man…now I am not only going to the sixth terrace but the seventh as well!
This dish had less fire to it than it looks. It was very flavorful and an interesting way to serve eggs. I hope I make at least some of you go to the fifth terrace for coveting my eggs!
Eggs in Purgatory
Makes: 2 starving people/4 peckish people
- 4 large eggs
- 500g tomato passata
- grated parmesan (enough to cover eggs)
- 2 slices of smoked bacon (chopped into lardons)
- 2 tbsp chopped parsley
- 1 large clove of garlic
- 1/2 red chilli
- salt and pepper
- 1 tbsp oil (for frying the bacon)
Fry up the bacon in a high-rimmed frying pan to render the fat.
Once the bacon is slightly crispy and has gained some colour, add the finely chopped garlic and chilli - fry for a couple of minutes.
Add the passata, season to taste with salt, pepper and the first tbsp of parlsey. Stir and allow it to heat through.
Crack the eggs into separate ramekins, this makes it easier to drop the eggs into the sauce precisely.
Drop the eggs into the bubbling mixture, space them out in a ring.
Grate the parmesan so that the yokes are completely covered.
Cover the frying pan with some tin foil and allow the eggs to poach for 3 minutes on medium heat.
Garnish with the remaining parsley.
Serve on a bed of brown rice, 2 eggs per person if serving 2, 1 each if serving 4.