Shakshouka

eggs in tomato sauce being cooked

Every so often, a dish becomes fashionable.  Think Avocado Toast – you had never seen it before, and then all of a sudden, it was appearing on every brunch menu.  Why?  Well – it’s delicious – but little by little people discover it and start sharing the word and voilá – it’s fashion.  This is how I see Shakshouka.  Perhaps you’ve never heard of it.  Or maybe you’ve already started to see it featured on cooking shows and on restaurant menus.  Regardless, it’s delicious and NOT new.  But popular.

Think poached eggs in a lovely tomato-based sauce until the whites are opaque and the yolk is still oozy and runny…spilling like lava into the tomato base.  Heaven.  Just heaven.  This version includes a very exotic spice mixture called Ras el Hanout which really makes it North African (its origin – Algeria).  While it sounds exotic, it’s really just a blend of different spices that you probably already have in your cupboard.  Take the time to put it together, and then keep it along with your other spices.  It will add a warm and savory flavor to almost anything.  You can convert your own classic meatball recipe into Kefta – which are Algerian meatballs.  Go you!

Enjoy Shankshouka on a Sunday morning along with crispy toast to soak up all the crimson and yellow goodness.  This recipes easily augments from 2-4 servings up to 6-8 by just adding more eggs.  I suggest using a 28-ounce can of San Marzano tomatoes (totally worth the extra cost).  If you only make as the recipe suggests below, you’ll have plenty of sauce leftover to make it another time!

Bsahtak! (Enjoy! in Algerian)

 

 

Directions

Serves 2-4
Time:  15 minutes preparation

2 tbs Olive Oil
1 medium yellow onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 28-ounce can San Marzano whole tomatoes with their juice
2 tsp Ras el Hanout (see note)
1 tsp salt
1 tsp red pepper flakes
4 eggs
1/4 cup crumbled feta
2 scallions (green onions), sliced on a bias

Method:

In a large sauté pan, heat olive oil over medium high heat until shimmering.  Add yellow onions and garlic. Cook for about three minutes until soft.

Pour in tomatoes with their juice.  Using a potato masher (or large spoon) crush tomatoes, but leave some chunks in tact for texture.

Stir in Ras el Hanout, red pepper flakes and salt.  Bring to a soft boil (about 2-3 minutes).

Carefully crack eggs into tomato mixture, leaving room for egg whites to cook without running into one another.  Reduce heat and cover for about four minutes. Check periodically to ensure you don’t overcook the yolks – keeping them runny is the best part (in my opinion)!

When egg whites are opaque, you should be good to go!  Spoon into bowls (two eggs and sauce per person).  Top with crumbled feta and garnish with chopped scallions.

Serve immediately.

Note:  Ras el Hanout

1 tsp salt
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp turmeric
3/4 tsp cinnamon
3/4 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp ground coriander seed
1/2 tsp ground allspice
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp ground cloves

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A great day for me is preparing great meals for friends and family. I enjoy experimenting with new ingredients and also updating classics that I've enjoyed for years. I love to travel and try lots of new cuisines - and wouldn't be anything without the love of my family!

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