shakshuka by CJB.JPG

Shakshuka

Tomatoes and red peppers make the perfect bed for eggs and feta.

I don't always have friends over for dinner but when I do, they illustrate me cooking.

I don't always have friends over for dinner but when I do, they illustrate me cooking.

I crave shakshuka more than any other dish in my arsenal. It's rich enough to feel like an indulgence while healthy enough to justify having it twice a week, entire container of feta cheese on top and all. I first had shakshuka while I was in Israel with The David Project, and as soon as I got back, I knew I had to make it for myself. I cobbled together a recipe that's probably not as authentic as it could be but close enough for me.

Grab and chop:

4 medium red bell peppers, sliced horizontally into rings
1 medium to large white onion, sliced into rings
1 28 oz. can of tomato sauce
salt, pepper, cumin, smoked paprika, and red pepper to taste (start with about 1 1/2 teaspoons of each except for the red pepper, which you should only add a pinch at a time unless you want to die a fiery death)
olive oil
4 eggs
8 oz. of feta cheese, crumbled
parsley, chopped, for serving (optional)

Here we go:

  1. In a large cast iron skillet* over medium to high heat, heat a glug or two of olive oil until it shimmers.

  2. Add the garlic, onions, and peppers, and stir, allowing them to caramelize and brown but not burn. This will take way longer than you think it will (probably about 10 minutes), but the texture is key for this recipe.

  3. Once the onions and peppers have gotten soft and started to reduce, add the chopped tomatoes and stir.

  4. Add the spices. Like I said, start with about 1 1/2 teaspoons each (EXCEPT the red pepper) and then add more as you continue cooking and stirring. I only add a tiny, tiny bit of red pepper because I am a wimp. But it's up to you. Stir everything around so that it's evenly distributed.

  5. Once the spices have been mixed in, dump the tomato sauce in and turn the heat down to low. Stir. Preheat the oven to high broil.

  6. Let simmer for about 10-15 minutes. The sauce will start to reduce, and if it's getting to thick for your taste, thin out with some water (about a 1/4 of a cup at a time). Make sure to keep tasting and adjusting the flavors.

  7. When you're happy with how it tastes and the texture of the sauce, make four nests (I usually use four peppers near the surface) and crack the eggs into the pan. Try not to break the yolk. Notice that I did indeed break the yolk. Move on with your life.

  8. Dump the feta on top of the eggs.

  9. Broil until the eggs are cooked to your liking, and then cool for about five minutes before serving, topped with parsley and with a side of bread or pita to scoop up the sauce.

*If you don't have a cast iron skillet, please do not put your pan into the oven without checking to see if it has a plastic handle. If you don't have an oven proof pan, simply cook the eggs by covering the skillet with a lid until they are done.

It looks like molten lava, and that is a good thing.

It looks like molten lava, and that is a good thing.