I had my first taste of shakshuka from my Israeli roommate two years ago. She made an eggplant version, which I’m still going to do as soon as my dad starts harvesting eggplant from his garden. Shakshuka is simply eggs poached in a spicy tomato and onion sauce. I added zucchini and cubanelle peppers (the long, light green kind, also called Italian sweet peppers), but you can swap these out for eggplant, bell peppers, or whatever chunky veggie you want! It’s traditionally served with crusty bread to soak up the sauce, which I happen to have an easy recipe for on this blog. Not a coincidence at all 😉
This is the ultimate one pan breakfast, lunch, or dinner meal. It’s the most perfect for brunch though, and so versatile you can customize it however you want. Start with roasted tomato basil sauce. Next we dry roast some cumin and add olive oil, garlic, onions, red wine, zucchini, and peppers to the pan. Once the veggies are fork-tender, we add tomato sauce, spices, cilantro, sugar, and salt. All these ingredients marry together into the most delicious chunky red wine sauce.
Next, turn the heat down to low and make wells in the sauce. Gently crack eggs into each of the wells, spacing the eggs at least one inch apart from each other so they don’t form one massive egg monster, although that’d probably be tasty too. Cover your pan with a lid and let everything simmer for five to ten minutes, depending on how runny or well done you like your yolks to be. That’s it! Top with extra herbs and cheese if you want (feta is a popular option), and mop it up with a chunk of bread.
loosely adapted from Ottolenghi's shakshuka
- In a very large saucepan, or two medium pans, dry-roast the cumin seeds on high heat for two minutes. Add oil and garlic. As soon as the garlic browns, add the onions and sauté until browned. Add red wine and sauté until the liquid has reduced.
- Turn the heat down to medium and add the zucchini and peppers. Sauté for five minutes or until fork-tender.
- Add roasted tomato basil sauce, bay leaves, crushed red pepper, cilantro, sugar, and salt to the pan (or pans). Stir and taste. Add more sugar and salt if you think the sauce needs it.
- Turn the heat down to low. Make 10 wells in the pan(s) to hold the eggs. Gently crack an egg into each well. Sprinkle a little salt over the eggs. Cover the pan(s) with a lid and simmer for five minutes. Remove the lid and check on the eggs. If the whites are not set yet, cover the pan(s) for another 2-5 minutes, checking frequently. Turn the heat off and serve immediately when the egg whites are firm and no longer translucent.
- Grate a little lemon zest over the eggs or top with feta, freshly ground black pepper, or fresh herbs. Serve with crusty bread for dipping.
I recently discovered that freshly grated lemon zest on top of lightly baked eggs on pizza was a fantastic flavor combination, so of all the optional toppings, I recommend lemon zest the most. A little goes a long way.