Remember these fluffy pancakes? Remember how I stated that I prefer savory breakfasts to sweet ones in that post? Well, this shakshuka is a case in point. I could eat these tomato sauce-y eggs any day for breakfast. Or lunch. Or dinner. Or all three. Plus in between, for snack.
My favorite way to eat an egg is when the yolk is runny, which makes a sunny side up, a poached egg, and a soft boiled egg my usual three egg-consumption choices. But there's some other foods I enjoy just as much as eggs. One such food: cooked tomatoes or tomato sauce. Raw tomatoes? Can't stomach them. Cooked tomatoes? GET IN MY BELLY.
Another food preference of mine: spicy foods. Very spicy foods. I add chili flakes to everything. Except cookies. If I'm having cookies, I add salt flakes in place of the chili flakes.
So really, this shakshuka, which is essentially eggs cooked in a sauce (this one made with fresh tomatoes, mmmm...) with lots of fresh garlic and spicy spices, has all my favorite things in one - runny eggs, cooked tomatoes, and spices. Shakshuka, you complete me. Pretty much.
Shakshuka has its origins in the Middle East, but like everything else in the world, I'm sure that statement will be considered highly contentious by the people who believe that shakshuka was dreamed up in their mother country. But for this post, we'll stick with the Middle East narrative.
It's only fitting, therefore, that I adapted this recipe from the amazing Jerusalem Cookbook. Now, really, you don't need to follow any particular recipe when making shakshuka, because it's always some variation of fresh or canned tomatoes, spices, and eggs. But I heard good things about the shakshuka from the Jeruslaem cookbook, and even though I already had a tried-and-true recipe for shakshuka that I've been making for years, I figured I'd give this one a try. Lesson learned: always give things a try. This shakshuka recipe is SO good!! And my new favorite.
There are a few factors that make these delectable eggs in sauce unique. One is the fact that you use fresh tomatoes in this recipe. Of course, you could always substitute canned tomatoes, but I strongly suggest you stick with fresh ones. It gives the shakshuka, well, a fresher taste.
This shakshuka also has the addition of harissa, which is a chili pepper paste that you can buy ready-made, or if you're feeling vey adventurous, create yourself at home. You can substitute chili flakes if you don't have any of this hot (both meanings) stuff, or leave it out altogether if you're not a fan of spicy foods.
Another plus - no onions. Let's just say that I don't very much appreciate the taste, and especially the texture, of fried onions. And we'll leave it at that.
One more variable that makes this shakshuka recipe really exceptional is its cooking time. All the other recipes I've tried call for such craziness as "reducing the liquid to half" which takes about 798 hours. This recipe is chop, chop, simmer for a few minutes, chop chop, simmer again, crack some eggs, simmer one more time, and you're done. In total you cook it for about 30 minutes or so, which is a huge improvement from the recipes that have a cooking time of 798 hours (the difference being 797.5 hours, if we're being technical).
So yeah, this recipe is incredible, both taste-wise, and time-wise. I really don't see any reason why you wouldn't try it. I really don't. Don't disappoint me. Make this. Thanks.
Adapted from the Jerusalem Cookbook
Yield: 6 eggs
3 tablespoons olive oil
3 tablespoons tomato paste
2 teaspoons store-bought harissa or schug (optional), or some red pepper flakes
2-3 red peppers, chopped
5 cloves of garlic, chopped or minced*
1-2 teaspoons salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon ground cumin
5 ripe tomatoes, chopped (or 800 grams canned tomatoes)
Parsley and paprika, for garnishing
Heat the oil in a large pan. Add in the tomato paste, harissa, peppers, spices, and garlic* - I like throwing in a few more whole garlic cloves so I can munch on them later after they're cooked (gross, but so good).
Cook for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the peppers are softened.
Add in tomatoes, lower flame, cover, and stirring occasionally, cook for 10 more minutes, until you get a thick sauce.
Make 6 wells in the sauce. Gently drop an egg into each well. Cover and simmer for 7-10 minutes, until the whites are cooked but the yolks are still runny.
Top with garnishes and serve right away.
On a completely unrelated note, always read the fine print: