Saturday, February 13, 2010


Chef Gale Gand's husband's Italian grandfather, a Brooklyn shipyard worker, created this wonderful breakfast dish. The story goes he created this delicious tomato, basil, and herb egg breakfast out of what was available in his kitchen and the recipe became so popular among his Italian family that Gale Gand eventually published the recipe in her BRUNCH! cookbook.

The spelling to this wondrous creation may be strange: Cucurumao BUT the pronunciation of the word is even stranger; pronounced: goo-ga-de-mow.

Serve this dish with thick slices of slightly toasted rustic bread slathered in butter and a little crushed garlic.

Serves 3 to 4
2 T. olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped or 2 cloves garlic, minced - I use both
2 pinches red pepper flakes (optional)
One 28-oz. can whole or crushed Italian plum tomatoes, with juice (used my canned stewed tomatoes)
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1 to 2 pinches sugar, to taste (optional) - cuts the acidity of the tomatoes so I use 2 pinches
4 fresh basil leaves, torn
6 large eggs
Grated Parmesan cheese for sprinkling (optional) (freshly grated is the best)
1 loaf crusty Italian bread

Heat the olive oil in a large saute pan over medium heat. Add the onion and saute until it is translucent and slightly golden, about 4 minutes. (If you're using garlic instead of onion, saute it for 1 minute.) If you want this to be spicy, add the red pepper flakes and saute for 1 minute more. Add the tomatoes (if whole, crush them with the back of a spoon). Cook until the mixture is fairly thick, about 20 minutes; then season it with salt and pepper. Taste the tomato sauce, and if you think you'd like it to be a little sweeter, add the sugar. Stir in the basil leaves.

Make six depressions in the tomato sauce with the back of a large spoon, and break 1 egg into each depression. Baste the eggs with a little tomato sauce, cover the pan, and cook over medium heat to poach the eggs, about 4 minutes.

Carefully divide the eggs and sauce among 3 or 4 bowls. Top with grated Parmesan, if desired, and serve with thick slices of bread.

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