This is my first official recipe for 2014, if you don’t count the re-blogging of an Australia Day recipe on Sunday. So, a belated Happy New Year to you and I hope I can get your attention with this funky egg recipe! You may have already tried it before? At home or in a cafe or restaurant? Shakshuka is an easy dish to make if you’re cooking for one, in fact my quantities are for one person, but you could easily double the ingredients or add more eggs. So what is Shakshuka anyway? Firstly, the word has a number of spellings and also a number of places around the world claim the dish as their own. Much like Aussie’s and Kiwi’s staking flags in both pavlova and lamington’s. Shakshuka is a popular dish in Israel and North Africa but apparantly even Turkey and Cyprus have their own versions too.
Shakshuka is an egg dish and the eggs are poached in an easy tomato sauce. A sauce that can even be made ahead and heated when needed. Sauce recipe’s vary all over the Middle East, but my recipe requires minimal chopping AND I’ve thrown in a ‘twist’ with the addition of cheese. This is the perfect meal to have if you have some good bread or even baked pita bread to use as an edible shovel. Ideally the egg yolks should be runny, so there’s a lot to mop-up, alongside the tomatoes. If you don’t like your eggs runny, then just poach them a little longer. And if you’re not good at poaching – there’s no need to worry because all you’re doing is cracking eggs over sauce and then putting a lid on your pan and allowing the heat and steam from the sauce to transform the eggs to (hopefully) perfection. Admittedly I went a little ‘over’ with my eggs when I photographed this recipe. Ideally the yolks should be sitting proudly on top of the sauce, but mine kind-of hid beneath the surface, which can happen and it’s ok. They weren’t hard boiled – but not runny either. Not a problem, they still tasted good. A little heat (from chilli) is great in Shakshuka, so I sprinkled some of my favourite Cholula hot sauce over the completed dish, but you could also add chilli flakes or cayenne pepper while your sauce is bubbling away on the stove. It’s an economical dish (depending on what cheese you buy, but you only need a little anyway). And it’s a more exotic alternative to beans and eggs on toast and far more memorable. Have it for breakfast, brunch or lunch – but really, eat it whenever you want.
*Tin of tomatoes x 1 (diced, around 400grams)
*Eggs x 2
*Garlic x 1 clove
*Oil to grease the frying pan
*Fresh basil leaves to scatter over the top at the end, or use chopped parsley or coriander.
*Hot sauce (optional) for sprinkling over the end, or a little pinch of chilli flakes or cayenne pepper added when you’re making the sauce.
*Two cheeses: Grated parmesan x 1/4 cup to sprinkle on top of sauce & some cubes of haloumi or feta cheese (about 1/2 cup) to mix in with the sauce. If you don’t like either of these salty cheeses, then some little cubes of vintage cheese will suffice.
*Salt, a couple of pinches + *Sugar, a couple of pinches
*Buttered toast or Pita breads toasted in the oven with a little olive oil and paprika.
-Heat pan, add some oil and saute crushed or minced garlic for about 30 seconds.
-Pour over tomatoes, add a couple of pinches of salt and a couple of pinches of sugar, stir and add cubes of cheese, either haloumi, feta or vintage.
-Stir and simmer for 5-10 minutes until tomatoes have reduced a little (stir every now and again to make sure cheese hasn’t stuck to the bottom of the pan).
-With a wooden spoon or similar, make indentations where you want to crack your eggs. Once the eggs are cracked into the pan, sprinkle parmesan cheese over the tomato sauce, avoiding the eggs because you want them to to be visible when the dish is finished and not covered in sauce or cheese.
-Put a lid over the pan or tin foil (make sure nothing is touching the eggs), turn down the heat and let the sauce softly simmer and poach the eggs with the heat and steam. This will take about 5 to 6 minutes.
-Prepare toast or pita bread while the eggs are poaching. When the eggs are done, throw over some fresh basil leaves or chopped fresh parsely or coriander and serve with toast or pita bread.