Letting Life Lead
Last week, I was inspired by a blog that I saw that had a photo of a gorgeous pan of Shakshuka (though I commented on it I can’t find it). I’ve made this dish before for my daughter who is a lover of the tomato and the egg; together it’s magic. Shakshuka is simply eggs poached in tomatoes. Now, my step-father puts ketchup on his scrambled eggs and I never got the appeal. But Shakshuka I get. It seems like my whole family has a love affair with ketchup and it can sneak up on you. “Oh, I guess I’ll put a little ketchup in that to zing it up.” Don’t get me wrong I also have a fondness for the Sriracha and others of it’s ilk.
I don’t really use a recipe for this (what else is new). I rummage in my pantry and cabinets and freezer to see what is available and use what I have. If you need a recipe you can’t go wrong with Smitten Kitchen’s version. I’ve used recipes from there for five years and have rarely been disappointed.
I always have whole cumin on hand because it holds it’s flavor indefinitely. I also had some frozen green pepper, but saddly no red. Onion, eggs, 28oz can of whole peeled tomatoes, paprika, garlic, sea salt, and fresh ground pepper. Simple.
I like onions,you know, but you can also dice them smaller. Saute it until it is done. I like a little bit of brown on my onion, but you can do it how you like it.
I love my mortar and pestle for just this sort of thing. I have a spice grinder for larger tasks, but this is really easy to use and easy to clean. It is also satisfying.
The kids can help here. Let them squash the tomatoes into oblivion. Though, a word of warning, stand back. The tomatoes can get feisty and spit back. For about three minutes you will have some quiet so your saute won’t burn.
Add the cumin, salt, pepper, paprika, and whatever other spice pepper powder you have chosen. I used Anaheim because it is sweet, but not hot. I found this batch of tomatoes to be a little bitter so I added in a teaspoon of sugar to balance it. I cook it until that raw tomato taste is gone and it starts to smell good. You’ll know it when you smell it.
Use a spoon to make some holes in the tomato base and put in as many eggs as you want. I did two for each kid and one for me, but you can do more. If you are feeling lucky break those eggs directly into the sauce. Do it. Be daring! If not, break them into a tea cup or bowl, fish out the shells you got in there, then transfer to the sauce. Easy. Cover them so they can steam, I find that this is very important.
Doesn’t that look wonderful? The eggs were cooked just how I like them. Stif whites and soft yolk. One egg was being stubborn so I drowned it with some of the sauce.
We are purists and like it straight up. I made some fresh roti (see my post and video here) to go with it. Unfortunately, the kids distracted me and my egg ended up sitting too long and the yolk was no longer beautifully runny. It was still soft and bright golden though, not hard and dry.
I love it when we have leftovers after we eat all the eggs because then I usually add in hamburger and shell pasta (or macaroni) and create a Shakshuka American Chop Suey, or I use it as a vegetable soup base, or a cook it with pork for a lovely Pork Shakshuka that goes very nice with mashed potatoes.
How do you shake your Shakshuka? Comment and let me know!
Want more inspiration, maybe even from people who know what they are doing? Try these blogs on for size:
Two Kitchens One Lifestyle: Traditional Israeli Shakshuka
I Accidentally At The Whole Thing: Shakshuka with Eggplant
135Journals: Chef Jacobs’ Shakshuka
Easy and Veggie: Shakshuka
The Literary (or Junk) Writings of Leslie Muzingo
Poetry, History, Mythology
Chronicles of a White Trash Hoe's Attempt to Climb the Social Ladder
Learn to Live
Fiction, Nonfiction, and Poetry Journal
TinyPurpleMe: Part Two
Illustrated Short Stories
Essays and reviews on narrative in games and new media
My reflections of life in general.