Our friend Terry commented yesterday that on weekend mornings, she goes to a neighborhood café for a dish of shakshouka (shah-SHOOK-ah). “That’s the NIBBLE tip of the day for Tuesday,” we exclaimed.
So here’s the scoop, something to consider for Father’s Day or any day you have the extra time to make the spicy sauce.
Shakshouka is a breakfast dish of eggs baked or poached or both, in a spicy tomato sauce that incorporates crushed tomatoes, garlic, hot chiles, olive oil, onions, paprika and/or cumin and salt.
Some variations include artichoke hearts, beans, potatoes and salty cheese.
Shakshouka means “a mixture” in Tunisian Arabic. The dish is believed to have a Tunisian origin, but it’s also a staple of Algerian, Egyptian, Moroccan and Libyan cuisines and is popular in Israel, where it’s served for dinner as well.
The dish is traditionally served in a cast iron pan or in a tagine*, with bread to mop up the sauce. The recipe is similar to Mexican huevos rancheros, Spanish pisto manchego and the Turkish dish menemen.
*A tagine or tajine (tah-ZHEEN) is a North African earthenware that comprises a shallow pan covered with a dome. Here’s a photo, recipe and more about tagines.
An American approach to shakshouka: Served it for lunch with a salad. Photo courtesy GoodEggs.com.
This recipe, from Good Eggs chef Audrey Snyder, is first poached, then baked. But you can poach only if you prefer. Chef Audrey adds both beans (more protein!) and cheese, which add flavor and texture. You can omit them if you prefer.
You can serve shakshouka with warm bread or toast for dipping, can serve it over polenta, or both. To serve it for lunch or dinner, add a salad and cooked vegetables, as in the photo above.
If making the sauce is too time-consuming for you, you can substitute a prepared puttanesca sauce along with the fresh herbs and optional cheese. The flavors won’t be the same (anchovy paste, capers and olives instead of cumin, onions and paprika), but they’ll be close enough to enjoy spicy eggs.
This more traditional version of shakshouka, from Jill of ABetterHappierStSebastian.com, uses cheese and parsley to garnish. Here’s the recipe.
Ingredients For 4 Servings
¼ cup olive oil
1 medium onion, finely chopped
4 garlic cloves, coarsely chopped
2 jalapeños, seeded and finely chopped
2 cups/15 ounces cooked beans of your choice, drained
2 teaspoons smoked paprika
2 teaspoons dried oregano
1 sprig each of thyme and rosemary
1 28-ounce jar/can whole peeled tomatoes, crushed by hand
and juices reserved
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
8 large eggs
1 tablespoon chopped flat-leaf parsley
1 tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro or basil
1 cup grated hard cheese or crumbled feta (optional)
1. PREHEAT the oven to 425°F.
2. HEAT the oil in a large ovenproof skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onion, garlic and jalapeños. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion is soft, about 8 minutes.
3. ADD the beans, paprika, oregano and fresh herbs and cook for another 2 minutes. Add the crushed tomatoes and their juices. Bring to a light boil, reduce heat to medium-low and simmer, stirring occasionally until the sauce thickens slightly, about 15 minutes.
4. SEASON to taste with salt and pepper. Crack the eggs into the sauce one at a time, spacing evenly. Top with the cheese.
5. TRANSFER the skillet to the oven and bake until the egg whites are set but yolks are still runny, 5 to 8 minutes. Garnish with parsley and basil or cilantro. Serve with warm bread for dipping, or serve over polenta.