Camp Breakfast: Eggs in Purgatory
July 18, 2016
Camp breakfast usually comes in one of a few, standard forms: a cold, flatpack Danish, sticky instant oatmeal that sinks to the bottom of your stomach or, for ambitious early risers, a big spread of bacon, eggs and biscuits.
All have their place — well, maybe not the stale sweet rolls — but there is a better alternative that comes together quickly and has the kind of flavor that will wake-up even those who stayed up too late playing cards in deer camp the night before.
Eggs in Purgatory, or Uova al Purgatorio in the traditional Italian vernacular, is a spicy stew of tomatoes, peppers and garlic in which a few eggs are floated to give hunters some much-needed protein before a day in the field.
The hellish part comes for a sprinkle or more of hot red-pepper flakes. I suggest adding a small dose during the cooking process, then passing the shaker with the pan so each hunter can dial up the right amount of spice.
Cooked in a cast-iron skillet over a fire or on the Camp Chef stove, Eggs in Purgatory takes just long enough to simmer the sauce and poach the eggs — 20 minutes or less. More carnivorous appetites can opt for one of several ways to add wild game meat to the dish.
Prosciutto or pancetta would be the more traditional options, although diced ham or crumbled bacon would certainly be right at home in this hellish good breakfast. Served with some good toast or over a pile of crispy hash browns, it gives you ample fuel to power up the mountain.
1 tbs. olive oil
3-4 small sweet peppers, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 quart canned tomatoes
1 cup fresh spinach
2 tsp. Italian seasoning
1-2 tsp. kosher salt, to taste
Fresh ground black pepper
3-4 medium eggs
Chili flakes, to taste
1. In an 8- to 10-inch cast-iron skillet set over a medium burner, sauté the chopped peppers and garlic in olive oil. Add the canned tomatoes, spinach and seasonings.
2. Simmer, stirring, until slightly reduced and thickened, about five minutes. Stir in ¼ cup of grated Parmesan until incorporated.
3. With the back of a spoon, make a small well in the tomato sauce for each egg. Break the eggs individually into a small bowl and tip each into the tomato sauce. Turn the heat to low or move the pan to a cooler side of the fire and cover with a well-fitting lid.
4. Let the eggs cook for 15 minutes, or until the whites are just set. Take care that the yolks don't overcook. Sprinkle on additional Parmesan and chili flakes to taste. Serve with toasted rustic bread or with a side of crispy hashbrowns.