HUEVOS AHOGADOS (eggs “drowned” in tomato cilantro sauce, for four)

1 teaspoon distilled white vinegar

2 pounds tomatoes, coarsely chopped, or one (28 ounce) can tomatoes in juice, drained, juice reserved, coarsely chopped

2 large garlic cloves, coarsely chopped

1 small green serrano chile, coarsely chopped


½ teaspoon sugar, more to taste

1 cup water (if using fresh tomatoes)

5 tablespoons olive oil

¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro, plus more for sprinkling

8 (1/2 inch thick) slices baguette

freshly ground black pepper

8 large eggs


1.   Put a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat it to 350*.

2.   Fill a deep 12 inch skillet with 1-1/2 inches of water, add vinegar and bring it to a simmer.

3.  Meanwhile, combine tomatoes, with juice if using canned tomatoes, garlic, chile, 1 teaspoon salt and ½ teaspoon sugar in a blender until smooth.  Add 1 cup water if using fresh tomatoes and puree.  Pour through a medium mesh sieve into a bowl, pressing hand on the solids; discard solids.

4.  Heat ¼ cup oil in another 12 inch, heavy skillet over moderately high heat until hot but not smoking.  Carefully pour in the tomato sauce (it will spatter).  Stir in cilantro, bring to a simmer and simmer briskly, stirring occasionally, until sauce is slightly thickened, about 10 minutes.  Stir in salt and sugar to taste and reduce heat to low.

5.   Meanwhile, put baguette slices on a baking sheet, brush with remaining tablespoon oil, and season lightly with salt and pepper.  Bake until just crisp on top, about 10 minutes.  Keep toasts warm in turned off oven.

6.   While bread toasts, break eggs, two at a time, into a cup and slide into simmering water, spacing pairs of eggs evenly in skillet.  Poach at a bare minimum until whites are firm but yolks are still runny, 4 to 5 minutes.

7.   Carefully transfer eggs with a slotted spoon to soup bowls and season with salt.  Spoon sauce generously over eggs and sprinkle with cilantro.  Serve with toasts.

Note:   The tomato sauce can be made up to 2 hours ahead.  Cool, uncovered, then chill covered.

from Ruth Reichl, Gourmet Today

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