Eggs in Tomato Sauce Αυγά με Ντομάτα is a dish Greeks love to eat in the hot summer months. I suppose, Greeks love Eggs in Tomato Sauce, because the dish can be eaten cold when outside the temperatures rise above 40 degrees Celsius like these days. Like these heat wave days when Greeks cooked eggs directly in he asphalt in the sun to demonstrate how hot it was. We had a discussion about eggs on KTG’s Facebook page, the one comment brought the other and then I was tempted to post this recipe. Of course, you cannot cook this dish by using direct sun light and high temperatures. You will indeed need a proper stove or even a camping gas or a tiny hatch kitchen.
Back to Greeks and their Eggs in Tomato Sauce… In summer months, fresh tomatoes are sweet and ripe, perfect for a tasty sauce.
At the same time, poached eggs are much lighter than the fried eggs Greeks love to eat as a quick meal. Who want to eat dull poached eggs with that slight vinegar taste, when there poached Eggs in Tomato Sauce?
The dish is quick and easy to make. If the tomato sauce is ready, it takes less than 10 minutes to prepare. If cooking includes also the tomato sauce, it will take no longer than 30 minute sin total.
Ideally, you prepare the dish in the morning, go to the beach, hold fresh bread from the bakery on the way back and there is you summer lunch ready awaiting for you.
Eggs in Tomato Sauce is the Greek version of Shakshouka, so to say. But it is far less spicy than the original Middle East version with onions and sharp spices like cumin and vegetables.
The typical Greek version of Eggs in Tomato Sauce consists of a simple tomato sauce and eggs without any garnish. This is the usual grandma’s recipe, millions of Greek kids grew up with in summer months.
Of course, grannies used old-fashioned ways and pressed the tomatoes through a metal a food mill or the big holes of a multi-purposed cheese grater. Nowadays, modern grannies use the multi mixer or blender.
Simple Tomato Sauce:
1kg fresh ripe tomatoes. Peeled, seeded and pureed so that also chunks are visible.
25ml olive oil
1/2 teaspoon sugar
Salt and pepper to taste. Maybe a 1/8 teaspoon of dry oregano.
Put all ingredients in a pan or skillet, cover and let simmer until sauce start to darken.
Of course, there are the more elevated Tomato Sauces with fresh and dry herbs, onions and garlic. A dash of ouzo or white wine.
And so are the versions of Greek Eggs in Tomato Sauce. Depending on how simple or elevated the sauce is.
There are Eggs in Tomato Sauce with feta crumbles on top or with green and red bell pepper in stripes in the sauce. And onions and garlic and whatever comes into one’s mind. Too complicated.
I have been cooking Eggs in Tomato Sauce using the very simple version for years, until I decided to enrich the sauce with fresh herbs, herbs that grow on my balcony. Basil, oregano, thyme, arbaroriza, parsley.
Arbaroriza (scented geranium) is an excellent natural sweetener growing in every Greek balocny and garden. It matches perfect to tomato sauce, especially if you don;t want to use the pinch of sugar it is often used if tomatoes are not ripe and sweet enough. Use the young leaves; old leaves have a slightly bitter taste.
Eggs in Tomato Sauce
Αυγά με Ντομάτα
Recipe serves two
500-600 gr peeled ripe tomatoes. Pureed in the blender, however, with some visible chunks
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 garlic cloves
1 1/2 tablespoon chopped parsley
1 teaspoon dry oregano
5-6 fresh basil leaves whole
2 to 4 eggs
Salt and pepper to taste
1 teaspoon of sugar and 1 teaspoon tomato paste if tomatoes not ripe and not sweet enough.
For more taste, add 2 tablespoon of white wine as the tomato sauce simmers and allow to evaporate before adding the eggs.
Put the tomato purre in a skillet or pan, add the olive oil, the garlic, the fresh and dry herbs, salt and pepper.
Add sugar or arbaroriza leaves and tomato paste, if neccessary. Stir well. Turn on the heat and bring it to boil. Lower the heat to bare simmer and cover the pan. Let simmer for at least 12 minutes.
Taste and adjust if neccesary.
If you use wine, it’s the time to add it now. Add wine, increase heat and let it evaporate for 1-2 minutes, lower heat to simmer.
If sauce turns too thick, add a bit of water and a bit of oil.
Break each egg in the sauce. With a spoon pour some sauce over the egg whites. Let the egg yolks uncovered.
Salt and pepper the egg yolks.
Top on and let simmer for about 6 minutes. Egg whites must be set, egg yolks thick but still runny.
Turn heat off and remove the skillet from the stove.
Now, there are two options:
you either serve immediately
you do it the Greek way: let it cool for at least one hour.
The Greek way is to serve the Eggs in Tomato Sauce without garnish.
Some sprinkle finely chopped parsley
However, my favorite garnish is fresh basil leaves. Chopped or whole.
preferably whole basil leaves and lots of them.
Fresh Basil is the perfect match to Eggs in Tomato Sauce in particularly and to Tomato Sauce in general.
Enjoy with fresh crusty bread.
Tip 1: you can always find fresh tomatoes ripe for tomato sauce in the Greek supermarkets. Usually, grocers have a lug with tomatoes for sauce under the baskets with tomatoes for salads or other uses. Just ask for “τομάτες για σάλτσα” – tomates gia saltsa – tomatoes for sauce.
Tip 2: You can easliy freeze Tomato sauce, so take advantage of the tonnes of ripe tomatoes in Greek markets until the middle – end of September.
PS Although very tasty, tomato sauce is not a good object for photography, I’m afraid…