Easy Shakshuka My Way
Shakshouka is made differently in Israel, Turkey, Egypt but is believed to be of Tunisian origin. The word is a derived in part from both Arabic and Hebrew and means a ‘ragout’ and ‘shaken’. In Israel the eggs are often left whole in the tomato sauce while in Turkey where the dish is also called Menemen, the eggs are scrambled in. This dish can be found in many forms in different cultures- take the Parsi classic Sali Pe Eeda or the Spanish Pisto, tomato sauce with fried eggs.
While Shakshuka is always slow cooked eggs in a thick tomato sauce it can be spiced with various ingredients for a sweet and or spicy flavor; cumin, caraway, Harissa, cayenne, vinegar, honey are used variously. Take your cue from this- make it the way you like it. Shakshuka is always served with bread to sop up the gravy. Greens and herbs like swiss chard, kale, mint, parsely are thrown in to bulk up the dish.
These eggs can be prepared on the stove top or in an oven like eoufs en cocotte individually or just slap the entire cast iron pan under the broiler like I do. I also recommend sprinkling the top with some soft, fresh Feta for a luxurious Sunday breakfast. A soft ricotta or strained cottage cheese will do fine.
Serves 4 (2 eggs per person)
• 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
• 1 jar of readymade pasta sauce (good quality like garlic or Arrabiata)
• 2 tablespoons white or yellow onions, finely chopped
• 1 large tomato chopped
• 2 tablespoons harissa paste or cayenne pepper or smoked paprika or Sriracha
• About 1 cup red bell pepper chopped
• Salt and sugar to taste
• 1/4 cup finely chopped fresh mint, parsley, dill or basil
• Pinch of powdered caraway seeds (optional)
• 8 large eggs
• 2 tablespoons soft fresh feta or any soft cheese of your choice
• Pita, challah, Brun Pav, baguette, for serving
• A large skillet with a lid
Heat oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add onion, bell peppers and cook 2 minutes then add tomatoes and sauté 1-2 minutes.
• Stir in tomato sauce, harissa, or whichever chilie you prefer, and cook about 30 seconds.
• Reduce heat to low and cook, stirring occasionally, until thickened and excess water evaporates.
• Add salt and sugar for taste. Check for spiciness.
• Stir in half of the parsley or herb of your choice, break the eggs over the tomatoes. Cover and continue to cook for about 3 minutes. Top with feta, cover and cook until eggs have set to your liking. Sprinkle remaining herbs, season with freshly ground black pepper and serve immediately with pita bread or baguette in the skillet.