Shakshuka (Israel)

An incredibly delicious dish of North African origin, shakshuka is eggs poached in tomato sauce, but it’s so much more than that.  Brought to Israel by immigrants from Morocco, Tunisia, and Libya, shakshuka has been throughly embraced by Israelis, and it’s easy to see why.  I like it as part of the breakfast meal that’s traditionally served at sundown on the day after Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement, which is the fast day in September or October. 

 

Basically, start by sautéing onions and pepper in a cast-iron skillet.  Get them brown and even a little charred, then add a bit of garlic.  Paprika, cumin, coriander come in. Canned whole tomatoes, mashed up as you cook them.  Then whatever else you want: olives, feta, greens, beans, artichokes, whatever. 

Once you’ve got a crazy good sauce, use a spoon to make indentations in the sauce and then crack the eggs into those holes.  Finish it in a preheated oven until the egg whites are just set.  Then Woot!  Dig in!

 

Serves 6

 

INGREDIENTS

  • 3 tablespoons (45ml) extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling

  • 1 medium onion, chopped

  • 1 large red pepper (bell pepper for milder heat, or a hotter variety, such as red horned pepper, chopped

  • 1 fresh small hot chili (such as jalapeño, serrano, or Fresno), stems, seeds, and ribs removed, chopped

  • 2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced

  • 1 1/2 tablespoons (15g) sweet Hungarian or smoked Spanish paprika

  • 1 tablespoons (10g) ground cumin

  • 1 teaspoon (5g) ground coriander

  • 1 (28-ounce; 800g) can whole peeled tomatoes, crushed by squeezing between your fingers

  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

  • Large handful minced cilantro, parsley, or a mix

  • 6 eggs

  • Crusty bread, for serving

 

STEPS

  1. Heat oil in a large cast-iron skillet on medium heat.  Sauté the onion and peppers.  Don’t stir for the first 6 minutes, allowing the veggies to get brown and crispy in parts.  I like the texture that the browning gives.  Then stir give it another six minutes without stirring Finally, once you have good charred bits, sauté another 4 minutes or so.

  2. Add the garlic, but only until it softens (30 seconds)

  3. Throw in the spices, and cook while stirring until you can smell it.

  4. Immediately add the hand-crushed tomatoes, stir, and reduce to a simmer.  Simmer for 10 minutes, then add salt, pepper and half of the herbs.

  5. With a large spoon, make six indentations in the reduced sauce.  Crack the eggs and slide them into the indentations.  Spoon some sauce onto the whites of the eggs, leaving the yolks visible.  Add a little salt onto the eggs, then cover and let simmer for 5-8 minutes, until the whites are barely set and the yolks still runny.

  6. Definitely serve with crusty bread for dipping, although pita, sourdough, heck anything will do.

 

Again, play around with this.  Once you have the basic down, add other stuff: olives, artichokes, greens, mushrooms, cheese, chorizo, you name it.  If this doesn't become your go-to brunch standard, I'll eat my new hipster hat.

 

Recipe a blend of ideas from www.toriavey.com and www.seriouseats.com 

Photo by Drew Vahrenkamp

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