My recipe for this popular Tunisian-Israeli vegetarian dish of eggs poached in a spicy tomato and bell pepper sauce is the second-best shakshuka I've ever tasted. The best, the very best, my husband Ted, cousin Martin and I practically inhaled at breakfast at The Gingerbread in Nuevo Arenal, Costa Rica, where Eyal Ben-Menachem, the Israeli chef-owner, works his magic. (I'm sharing the secret to Eyal's recipe in my new e-cookbook, 25 Tomatoes, which comes out next week.) Even though I'm admitting my shakshuka is second-best, it's really pretty great, and I use ingredients you already have in your pantry. The one requirement is heat, in some form: chile peppers (fresh or canned), chile powder, hot smoked paprika. It's up to you, and your heat tolerance. If you're serving shakshuka for breakfast, as is traditional, you might want the sauce mildly spicy; on those breakfast-for-dinner days, kick the heat up by adding more red pepper flakes, a pinch of cayenne, or even a few shakes of hot sauce. The recipe yields enough sauce for six people; make the whole batch, and keep any leftover in your freezer for a super quick worknight supper or weekend brunch. Serve with slices of toasted crusty bread, for mopping up the sauce.
Shakshuka: eggs in fiery tomato sauce
Serves 2-3; recipe makes enough sauce for 4-6 (use a larger frying pan, and add 1 egg per person, if you're serving the full recipe), and you can freeze the extra sauce.
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 small onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 large red bell pepper, diced
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp sweet paprika
1/2 tsp mild red pepper flakes, or more to taste
4-oz can roasted green chiles, or 1 small jalapeño pepper, seeds and ribs removed, minced
2 Tbsp tomato paste
28 oz canned chopped tomatoes, with their juices
1/2 tsp kosher salt
Fresh black pepper, to taste
3 large eggs
2-4 Tbsp roughly chopped fresh parsley
Heat the oil in a large nonstick frying pan over low-medium heat. When the oil is hot, add the onion, and sauté for 2-3 minutes, until soft. Add the garlic and red bell pepper, and continue to cook, stirring frequently, for 4-5 minutes, until the onion is translucent.
Stir in the cumin, paprika, and red pepper flakes. Mix well, and let the spices cook for 30 seconds. Then, pour in the green chiles (or jalapeño), and cook that for 30 seconds. Next, add the tomato paste, and stir that into the mixture.
Finally, add the chopped tomatoes. Reduce heat to simmer, and cook, stirring often, for 15 minutes, or until the sauce comes together and reduces. When most of the liquid has evaporated, remove the pan from the heat. At this point, you could let all of the sauce cool completely, and refrigerate or freeze it in airtight containers.
Transfer half of the sauce into a smaller nonstick frying pan (I used a 9-inch size in the photos here). If the sauce has cooled, warm it over lowest heat until it is just below the simmer.
While the sauce is warming, crack each egg into its own small bowl. If there are any pieces of shell, now is the time to remove them.
Make 3 small indentations in the sauce, and gently slide an egg into each one. Cover the pan, and cook until the eggs are as runny, or firm, as you like them (I cook mine for 10 minutes, covered, which makes a somewhat runny egg).
Garnish with chopped parsley, and serve right away.
More breakfast-for-dinner egg dishes:
Albornia de chayote
Broccoli, mushroom, egg and cheese breakfast casserole
Egg casserole with Italian cheeses, sun-dried tomato and fresh herbs
Zucchini, goat cheese and basil frittata
Lobster, corn and basil quiche
Other recipes you might enjoy:
Tuscan baked eggs with tomatoes, red onion, garlic, parmesan and herbs, from Kalyn's Kitchen
Eggs and tomato breakfast melts, from Skinnytaste
Baked eggs with tomato and kale, from The Curvy Carrot
Healthy potato-crusted vegetarian quiche with zucchini, tomatoes and feta, from Cookin' Canuck
Cherry tomato, prosciutto and ricotta frittata, from Cannelle et Vanille
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