Shakshuka is amazing. I can’t believe I never heard of it until a year ago. How did I go so long without it?
I first came across it in Yotam Ottolenghi’s cookbook, Jerusalem. Ottolenghi has been super imperative in expanding my culinary knowledge, my curiosity with spices, and overall my familiarity with Middle Eastern cuisine. I love Yotam Ottolenghi so, so much (and he seems like a great person too from his social media!)
I feel like I see shakshuka everywhere now in Los Angeles. This is probably just because I know what it is-either way, I’m thrilled. Lodge Bread Co., Gjelina, and Sqirl all have Shakshuka that I am EAGER to try. For now, I just make it from scratch at home.
The magic of shakshuka is that it is delicious for breakfast, lunch, and dinner and it is HIGHLY customizable. Smitten Kitchen also has a really great recipe.
Here’s what you will need:
- 4 ripe tomatoes
- 2 red bell peppers
- 1 sweet onion
- 2 tbsp fresh minced garlic (you can use less, I am a garlic fiend)
- fresh parsley
- feta cheese
- 6 eggs
- 1 can tomato paste
- pepper to taste
- 1 tbsp harissa
- 1 small jalapeno
- 1 tsp cumin
- 1 tsp saffron
- Olive oil
- Loaf of challah bread to dip with!
- Large sauce pan with a lid to broil eggs perfectly.
- Three bowls to contain your diced peppers/tomatoes and onion separately and another bowl for your sauce
- A sharp knife to dice your vegetables with precision
What to do:
- Prepare your vegetables. You are going to sautee them in stages, but you don’t want to be rushing to dice them while cooking.
- First, dice your onion. Your pieces don’t need to be super small, but make sure they are roughly uniform sizes so they cook evenly. Set aside in bowl.
- Mince your garlic. I buy my garlic minced in bulk from the Korean market because it’s a) cheap and b) way easier than peeling/mincing it on my own. You can set this aside with the onions as you will be sauteing them together.
- Dice your bell peppers and tomatoes and set aside. You can set them aside together in the same bowl, as you will be cooking them together.
- Prepare your tomato sauce. I like a strong tomato flavor, so I like to use tomato paste. In a bowl, scrape the tomato paste. Mix about 1/2 cup of warm water and integrate the paste into a liquidy consistency. Add 1/2 cup of water and continue to integrate. Add one more cup of water and mix until smooth.
- Lastly, dice your jalapeno. You can skip this, if you don’t want too much heat in your shakshuka. Be careful with the jalapeno oils! I would wear kitchen gloves used for handling meat and poultry so you don’t get irritated 🙂
Let’s start cooking!
- In a large sauce pan, heat 3 tbsp. of olive oil. As it heats up, pour the harissa, saffron, cumin, and a bit of pepper.
- As the spices start to get aromatic, add your onion/garlic mix. You are going to sautee and slightly caramelize on medium heat.
- Once your onions become soft and slightly brown, add your tomato/bell peppers. Cover your sauce pan with a lid and let it sit for a minute.
- Take the lid off and stir. Add your jalapenos, if you wish.
- Once the vegetables are soft, add your tomato sauce mixture and put heat to low. Stir to incorporate all of the ingredients. Cover with lid and let simmer for 5 minutes or until it starts to bubble.
- Once your sauce starts simmerin’ grab a wooden spoon and gather your eggs. Make a small hole in your sauce mixture with spoon and crack your egg into the resulting space. Repeat with the rest of your eggs. Cover with lid for perfectly soft boiled eggs!
- If you want runnier eggs, wait 2 minutes with lid on. If you like firmer eggs, wait up to 4 minutes.
- Uncover your sauce pan, and sprinkle with fresh feta and parsley to taste.
- Serve in bowl with a hefty slab of challah (or your bread of choice) for a very satisfying meal!