Shakshuka. The name is a bit of a tongue twister, but do learn to say it and make it! This shakshuka recipe is so good, you’ll find yourself making it again and again. It is relatively easy and a perfect brunch dish – or even dinner on a busy weeknight. Paired with a good piece of toasted bread, preferably sourdough, along with some good country sausage, and you’re all set!
Shakshuka hails from North Africa, and traveled all along the middle East, now has become ever so hip and popular here.
Perfect for holiday brunches
With the holidays upon us, I thought you would enjoy this recipe especially for those of us welcoming houseguests and relatives. I’ve made this several times for “sleepovers” and here’s just a few of the comments – “thank you Mary for a most memorable brunch” – from a hard-to-please big brother, and then there was, “Gee I feel like I’m at an expensive Bed and Breakfast!” from new friends, and “delicious brunch spread” from a sister-in-law.
So please enjoy and feel free to alter ingredients – the kinds of peppers and cheeses – for example. Do use only the real San Marzano tomatoes, making sure your can says “D.O.P.” to insure they are genuine. You can use regular paprika but I prefer the sweet smoked kind from Spain. My husband never like smoky things, except for salmon and whitefish, so now at least I can use it with abandon, although I’d rather have him around. 🙁
SHAKSHUKA – serves 3 – 4
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
1 medium onion, thinly sliced (use a hand mandoline)
1 large green pepper, stems, seeds, and ribs removed, thinly sliced
2/3 of one fresh small jalapeño chili including seeds and ribs, thinly sliced
3 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
1 1/2 tablespoons sweet smoked Spanish paprika
2 teaspoons whole cumin seeds
1 28-ounce can whole peeled San Marzano tomatoes, crushed by squeezing with your hands
3 – 4 oz. feta cheese, cubed in ¼” pieces or crumbled
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
Large handful of chopped cilantro or parsley, or a mix
6 – 8 eggs
Crusty bread, for serving, preferably sourdough, toasted
Country sausage for serving – optional
Heat olive oil in a large, deep skillet or straight-sided sauté pan over medium high heat until shimmering.
Add onion, green pepper, and jalapeño chili and spread into an even layer. Cook, without moving, until vegetables on the bottom are deeply browned and beginning to char in spots, about 6 minutes. Flip vegetables and continue to cook until vegetables are fully softened and spottily charred, about another 4 minutes.
Add garlic and cook, stirring, until softened and fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add paprika and cumin seeds and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
Immediately add tomatoes and stir to combine. Reduce heat to a bare simmer and simmer for 10 minutes, then season to taste with salt and pepper. Remember the feta is salty, so do not add too much salt.
Add the feta now and some of the parsley and/or cilantro, saving enough to garnish finished servings. Stir all to combine nicely.
Using a large spoon, make a well near the perimeter of the pan and break an egg directly into it. Spoon a little sauce over edges of egg white to partially submerge and contain it, leaving yolk exposed. Repeat with remaining 5 – 7 eggs, working around pan and into the middle as you go.
Cover, and reduce heat to lowest setting, and cook until egg whites are barely set and yolks are still runny, 6 to 8 minutes.
Serve 2 eggs with sauce in large shallow bowls as shown.
Garnish with cilantro or parsley. Serve immediately with crusty bread and LOVE. A side of sausage is lovely to go along with this. And have your serving bottle of EVOO on the table for those who want a little more oil. Be prepared for silence and ummm’s.
Enjoy!! And Happy Holidays!