If you live on the East Coast you are likely well aware that swim season is in full swing. At neighborhood pools and private clubs up and down the Atlantic seaboard, kids are waking up for early morning practices, swimming endless laps and working on their starts, finishes and flip turns. All of this repetition culminates in weekly meets where the swimmers are guided to their assigned lanes to compete in one to three 30-second races over the course of a four-hour meet. My West Coast friends don’t get it, and forget about the friends that live overseas. You sit for that long? To see your children swim one lap, maybe two? For a fleeting six-week season? Well, the answers are yes, yes and yes, the reasons being more nuanced.
As individual as the act of swimming is, the activity is actually an incredible team sport. The older kids take the youngsters under their wing, teach them cheers and school them in the team’s traditions. There are themes (who doesn’t appreciate an opportunity to dress up?) and non-swim related activities (DJ dance parties, tie-dye afternoons, movie outings). In my particular neighborhood, swim team is the reason why most kids don’t go to sleep away camp and vacations are carefully planned for the post-season.
With a swim meet each Wednesday, starting at 6pm and ending–hopefully–around 9:30pm, you’d think that I would belly up to the snack bar and make dinner of a slice of pizza or some nachos. While the kids love these nights, I still like to end my day with a sit-down meal and would feel unfulfilled with something less. Over the course of the past three summers, I have found myself whipping up a certain one dish meal 4 out of 6 Wednesday evenings.
Eggs Poached in Tomato Sauce is fulfilling, delicious and doesn’t feel too heavy when consumed as a late night meal. The version I make is of Libyan origin but many countries such as Italy, Spain, Morocco and Israel have their own version of “Eggs in Purgatory.” With all of the varieties, eggs are poached in a rich, highly seasoned, simmering tomato sauce. Served with a piece of warmed flatbread, you’ve got yourself a late-night supper. For an easy weeknight meal I’d likely serve the eggs with a crisp cucumber salad, but at 10pm you can get away with an unaccompanied dish. Good night and “Go Dolphins!”
Note: In the accompanying photo, I promise that there are two eggs buried in all that sauce…really, they’re there!
- 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 3 jalapenos, stemmed, seeded and finely chopped
- 1 small yellow onion, chopped
- 8 cloves of garlic, crushed
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- 1 Tbls paprika
- 1 28-oz can crushed tomatoes
- kosher salt, to taste
- 4-8 eggs (2 eggs per serving)
- 1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese
- 1 Tbls chopped flat leaf parsley
- warm flatbread, nan or pita, for serving
- Heat oil in a 12" skillet over medium-high heat. Add chiles and onions and cook, stirring occasionally, until soft and golden brown, about 6 minutes. Add garlic, cumin and paprika and cook, stirring frequently, until garlic is soft, about 2 minutes more.
- Add crushed tomatoes to the skillet along with 1/2 cup of water, reduce heat to medium and simmer, stirring occasionally, until thickened slightly, about 20 minutes. Season sauce with salt.
- Crack eggs over sauce so that they are evenly distributed across the sauce's surface. Cover skillet and cook until yolks are just set, about 5 minutes. Midway through the cooking process, use a spoon to baste the eggs with the tomato mixture, being careful not to disturb the yolks.
- Sprinkle the skillet with feta and parsley. Carefully spoon two eggs and sauce into each shallow bowl and serve with warm bread for dipping.
- Eggs will continue to cook in carryover heat from the sauce, so be sure not to overcook them on the stove and pull the skillet once the whites are done and the yolks are just set.