Shaksoukha alla Puttanesca

By • June 1, 2015 1 Comments

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Author Notes: My standard shakshouka at home, this recipe reflects my love for all things cured, pickled, and funky with the classic Italian combo of anchovies, olives, and capers. The proportions may change (for example, this one has only one anchovy, a small handful of black olives, a small onion, a handful of capers, and a 14.5 oz can of diced tomatoes rather than the typical large can of whole due to how much I had left in what I had open and what I could get to in my cabinets), but the core taste is fairly consistent and always tasty. The particular proportions written here reflect the rough center of my range and what I could find online for the traditional proportions in shakshuka and sugo alla puttanesca, so vary as you will. Note that the optional chiles are there to add complexity more than heat, so I'd suggest cutting back on their quantity or replacing with something more mild (there are a lot of peppers less hot than the jalapeno that would work well) instead of cutting one out entirely if you want something less spicy.
Another variation that I quite enjoy is separating the whites from yolks so I can stir the whites into the sauce while it's cooking and then adding the yolks after I turn off the heat (or even to the bowl when plating). While separating the eggs is a pain, it ensures that I cook the whites fully while allowing the yolks to remain runny and preventing the burning of the bottom that can happen during the period when poaching the eggs makes it so I can't stir).

Note that a non-dairy version of this sugo alla puttanesca, possibly with less spice, also makes a great topping to cook your stuffed cabbage/holeshkes in, as well as meatballs.

I will also note that I found a version of "Shakshuka Puttanesca" at What Jew Wanna Eat when checking to see if it had been done before writing up my recipe here, but was not aware of it when formulating my rendition and use a significantly different recipe.
scott.finkelstein.5

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Makes 4 servings

Starting soffritto

  • 1 Rib celery
  • 1 Bell pepper of your color preference, core removed
  • 1 Jalapeno, more striated for more spice, color of your preference (red ones may take some digging at the supermarket, but are worth it if you or somebody at home dislikes green peppers
  • 1 Non-sweet onion (I tend to stock yellow at home, but the batch pictured used red)
  • 1 Small carrot (just use the smallest in whatever bunch you have)
  • 3 dashes Dried cayenne pepper (a dash is like a shake, right?)
  • 1-4 tablespoons Spice mixes, preferrably those containing the traditional sakshukha spices (coriander, caraway, and/or cumin, depending on person and regional tradition), dried peppers, or salt to (macerate and season). I often favor curry powder (currently a Jamaican bl

Everything else

  • 1 Pat butter (if cooking a meat meal, use oil or shmaltz)
  • 1 Generous dose tomato paste
  • Chile oil (optional but reccomended)
  • 1 Can whole tomatoes
  • 1 handful Olives (w/o pits, please)
  • 6 Canned anchovy fillets
  • 1 Chile in adobo, or some pepper pastes like panca and rocoto (optional but reccomended)
  • 1/4 cup Capers (brine-packed), drained
  • 2-3 Cloves garlic, or a large spoonfull of minced (I've even used minced w/ ginger with good results)
  • 8 Eggs
  • Cheese (optional, use if sauce is too spicy or you want it)
  1. Put 12" saute pan or skillet with butter on heat (alternately, you could use a saucepan, but then the eggs will sink and thus be inaccessible for visual monitoring of doneness). Turn off heat if butter is fully melted before soffritto is ready
  2. Chop soffritto in food processor or by hand
  3. Brown butter
  4. Add soffritto to pan, cook over medium-high to high heat while stirring with increasing frequency as soffritto dries (early on, the contents of the pan will be fairly wet, so you can afford to be less attentive).
  5. Pour tomato can, anchovies, olives, capers, garlic, and chile en adobo to food processor (normally, I'd puree the tomatoes in their own can, but the processor is already dirty)
  6. By this point, the soffritto should have cooked dry and be browning. Add tomato paste (and chile oil if you're using it) while stirring vigorously and scraping the bottom of the pan. The soffritto and tomato past will want to stick and burn, so take care to keep the bottom of the pan clear. Keep stirring until the tomato paste is fragrant and the contents are nice and brown (or until you need to stop something from burning on the bottom of the pan)
  7. Pour in tomato-puree. Scrape bottom of the pan throughly to get all the fond up and mix to incorporate.
  8. Lower heat to medium, allow tomatoes to get hot and thicken to whatever texture you like in a tomato sauce, stirring occasionally.
  9. Taste sauce. If it's on the spicy side for your tastes, pull out the cheese (unless you're cooking a parve or meat meal, in which case you can use some of the oil the anchovies were packed in or some shmaltz.
  10. Give the sauce one last thorough stir. Make a hole/well in the sauce and break an egg into it eight times (one well for each egg). Generally, you'll be able to fit eight eggs around the perimeter of your pan and one in the center, put ever pan is different.
  11. Cover. Check doneness of eggs occasionally. Turn down temperature if you think bottom of sauce is starting to scorch of if you like your yolks more well done (the yolks will be moderately runny by the time yolks are fully cooked with medium heat, in my experience).
  12. Grate the cheese while eggs cook if you're planning to use it.
  13. When whites are fully or nearly fully completely white, turn off heat and sprinkle any cheese you're using over the pan. The cheese will take roughly as long to melt and the sauce as long to cool to serving temperature as it'll take to set the table. Serve chakchouka in bowls.

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