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In experimenting with dishes from the Middle East and Africa I stumbled upon this dish for dinner, which was an instant keeper. Here, poached eggs float atop a simmering sea of tomato sauce, onions and hot peppers. The earthy taste of cumin and the smoky paprika lace the ingredients together creating a vibrant explosion of flavor and texture.

Shakshuka is a staple of Tunisian, Libyan, Algerian, and Moroccan cuisines traditionally served up in a cast iron pan. It is also very popular in Israel, where it was introduced by Tunisian Jews. Not being able to resist a dish with a history, I had to try it.

Having never poached an egg before, it was a relief to learn that simply cracking the eggs gently into the simmering sauce will poach them into that recognizable “poached egg” shape. No manipulation is required other than to cover it, or if you want, to spoon the sauce gently over the top.  When it is all ready, make sure you have plenty of pita or thick, crusty bread on hand to mop up all of the sauce.

Shakshuka and Peppers

This recipe was adapted from Saveur Magazine

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 4 Anaheim chili peppers and 2 jalapeños, stemmed, seeded, and finely chopped
  • 1 small yellow onion, chopped
  • 6 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 tbsp. ground cumin
  • 1 tbsp. smoked paprika
  • 1  28-oz. can whole peeled tomatoes with the sauce
  • Kosher salt, to taste
  • 4 eggs
  • 1/2 cup crumbled goat cheese
  • 1 tbsp. chopped cilantro
  • Warm pita, for serving

Preparation:

Heat oil in a 12″ skillet over medium-high heat. Add chili peppers and onions and cook until soft and golden brown, about 5-6 minutes. Add garlic, cumin, and smoked paprika, and cook, stirring frequently, until garlic is soft, about 2 more minutes.

Put tomatoes and their liquid into a medium bowl and crush with your hands. Add crushed tomatoes and their liquid to skillet along with 1/2 cup water, reduce heat to medium, and simmer until thickened slightly, about 15 minutes. Add a few pinches of salt.

Crack eggs over sauce so that eggs are evenly distributed across sauce’s surface. Cover skillet and cook until yolks are just set, about 5 minutes, maybe a bit longer. Using a spoon, baste the whites of the eggs with tomato mixture, being careful not to disturb the yolk. Sprinkle shakshuka with goat cheese and cilantro and serve with pitas or flanked by a crusty bread, for dipping.

Shakshuka

Shakshuka

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