Shakshouka is an addictively delicious breakfast, lunch or supper dish popular in the Middle East--but you can eat it anywhere, especially at my house. We often go to a neighborhood spot on the Westside of Manhattan called The Hummus Place--it is friendly and unpretentious. Although the hummus platter with assorted toppings is a delicious option (I like the mushrooms), I can't resist ordering the Shakshouka whenever I am there. It is easy to adjust this recipe to serve one or many; just use a few more or less peppers and garlic cloves, or add another can of tomatoes as necessary. For my version, I toast whole cumin and coriander seeds first, then pound them with plenty of garlic and a bit of salt to bring out the flavors. The notion of pounding garlic with salt and spices is one I learned from Jacqueline Higuera McMahon's wonderful book, California Rancho cooking. I use a mix of fresh peppers (Cubanelle and red) and sauté them until browned in spots. Fire-roasted tomatoes add a hint of smokiness. You can make a lot of sauce a day or two ahead, then ladle a portion into a small skillet the next morning to serve one or two before heading out the door, or save it and reheat, adding eggs, for a quick and nourishing family supper. (Although not authentic, I sometimes make the sauce in advance and make a few soft-boiled eggs in the instant pot, also ahead of time, to be peeled, refrigerated overnight, and then warmed briefly in a bowl of hot water for a quick meal). You can crumble some rinsed mild, creamy feta--heads up to Pastures of Eden if you can get it-- to make a nourishing meal. —creamtea
- Prep time 10 minutes
- Cook time 5 minutes
- Serves 4-8, depending on how many eggs you like on your plate
- For the spice mixture (makes extra)
whole cumin seeds
whole coriander seeds
- For the eggs
fat cloves garlic, smashed and minced
fine sea salt
olive oil plus extra as needed
chile japones (or any small hot dried red chile), optional
fresh bay leaf, cracked
red bell peppers, preferably the sweet, elongated variety
28-oz can fire-roasted tomatoes
14-oz. can-fire roasted tomatoes
Aleppo pepper or 1/2-1 teaspoon mild smoked Spanish paprika
rinsed mild feta, crumbled
minced parsley, as a garnish
flat bread, wrapped in foil and warmed in oven, as an accompaniment
- Toast the cumin and coriander seeds in a small heavy pan over a low flame (I use a long-handled 2-cup measure held a few inches above the grid of the stove). Empty into a mortar and pestle and pound to a coarse powder or grind in an electric spice grinder. Toast the chile japones in the same manner and set aside without pounding. (Can be made ahead).
- Empty the ground spices into a small dish. Place the minced garlic into the mortar or spice grinder, add 1-1/2 teaspoons of the spice blend and a pinch of sea salt and pound or whizz until a coarse paste is formed. Set aside.
- Drizzle the olive oil into a large saute pan set over a medium low flame. When oil is hot add the chile japones, stirring and tossing a few times, and then the sliced peppers and bay leaf. Toss and saute until peppers are softened and translucent. Turn up the flame and allow to brown in spots for a few minutes, being careful not to burn.
- Reduce flame, allow pan to cool for about a minute, then make a small opening in the peppers. Drizzle in a little more olive oil then scrape in the spice paste. Sizzle briefly until aromatic, then stir and fry into the pepper mixture to incorporate. Remove the chile japones.
- Add the tomatoes and their juices, squeezing each gently before adding to break up. Stir in the Aleppo pepper or smoked paprika. Simmer sauce until thickened. Remove bay leaf. Taste and adjust seasoning. The sauce may be prepared up to this point one day in advance and refrigerated. Before continuing, reheat to simmering.
- With the back of a spoon, make a depression in the sauce for each egg. Break eggs individually into a dish and slide into each depression. Cook until set, about 3-4 minutes. Ladle into individual bowls, crumble feta over, if desired, and sprinkle with parsley. Serve hot with flat bread as an accompaniment.
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