If you’re still scrambling for a dinner idea for tomorrow, I’ve got the perfect eggs-for-dinner dish: shakshouka. Poached in a tomato and pepper sauce, then served with flatbread for some hands-on scooping and dipping action, eggs make for a great romantic meal.
I first enjoyed shakshouka at Dr. Shakshuka, an open-air restaurant in Tel Aviv, Israel. They prepare the eponymous dish in individual skillets over a giant, outdoor gas range. It’s easy to see how shakshouka gets it’s name — in a wonderfully onomotopoetic manner, the chefs shake the skillets to gently baste the eggs with sauce as they cook.
This recipe is inspired by one from the Saveur archives — it’s basically their Eggs Poached in Tomato Sauce, scaled down to serve two instead of four. Renzo and I did make a couple changes while whipping this up: we chose to use a combo of Anaheim and Jalapeno chilis instead of picking just one variety, and in typically Italian fashion, I’m pretty sure he used a bit more olive oil than the original recipe called for. Renzo made a batch of chewy, warm laffa bread to serve alongside the eggs, but feel free to warm up some store-bought pita or slice up a big, crusty baguette.
Oh, and if you can manage to track down some Bulgarian feta cheese to sprinkle on top, do try it out! I buy mine at The Milk Pail, a produce and dairy market that carries an incredible selection of cheeses. They’ve got four or five feta varieties in stock at any given time, and the Bulgarian one is extra-creamy and tangy, and by far my favorite of the bunch. Of course, any tangy, crumble-able cheese will do — cotija or ricotta salata would work well.
Shakshouka (printer-friendly version)
3 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
2 Anaheim chilis, seeded and diced
2 jalapeno chilis, seeded and diced
1/2 small yellow onion, diced
3 large cloves garlic, chopped fine
1/2 tsp. cumin seeds, ground with a mortar and pestle
1 1/2 tsp. sweet paprika
half of a (28 oz) can San Marzano tomatoes (including juice)
1/4 C. water
3/4 tsp. kosher salt
1/4 tsp. ground black pepper
1/8 tsp. cayenne pepper
2 oz. Bulgarian feta cheese, crumbled
1/4 C. coarsely chopped flatleaf parsley
1. Heat oil in a small (2.5 quart) dutch oven over a medium-high flame. Add chilis and onions, and cook until softened and beginning to brown, about 6 minutes. Add garlic, cumin, and paprika, cooking for another few minutes to soften the garlic and let spices become aromatic.
2. Place the tomatoes and their juice into a small mixing bowl. Add water, then use your hands to crush tomatoes.
3. Add tomatoes to the dutch oven with the other ingredients, then reduce heat to medium. Let simmer, uncovered, for about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add kosher salt, cayenne, and black pepper.
4. Using a wooden spoon, push aside a bit of the sauce, then crack an egg into the impression left in the sauce. Repeat with remaining 3 eggs.
5. Cover the dutch oven, and let the eggs poach in the sauce for about 5 minutes. Uncover and check for doneness — the whites should be just barely cooked through, while the yolks are still a bit runny.
6. Ladle sauce and eggs into shallow bowls. Garnish with feta and parsley, and serve with warm laffa bread.