I don’t know what to tell you about shakshuka; it always always renders me speechless. What I can tell you is that I have a deep love affair with eggs… and tomatoes… and bell peppers — you get the idea. MAKE THIS.
This dish is very customizable (cue noise of Tunisian grandmothers cursing). I once used a bunch of quail eggs and chunks of feta for a brunch and another time I added fried eggplant, giving it a ratatouille-type feel. If you don’t have merguez try it with your favourite spicy sausage like chorizo and poblano peppers (and fresh queso…omg!) in place of the bell peppers. Make it your own . And although this is normally served with a big ol’ pile of crusty bread (drool… highly suggested by Yotam Ottolenghi) I feel the addition of merguez turns it into a substantial meal — breakfast, lunch or dinner.
It would be a good idea to freeze the tomato mixture into individual portions for when the mood strikes. All it takes is a hot pan to heat the sauce and some egg cracking. And some crumbled feta if you’re feeling a little borderline.
Shakshuka with Merguez
- 1 tablespoon coconut or avocado oil
- 1 medium onion, sliced
- 1 medium red or orange bell pepper, sliced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- ½ pounds merguez, casing removed and broken into chunks
- 1 teaspoon harissa paste
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 6 medium sized tomatoes,chopped
- 1 teaspoon honey (to brighten the less-than-stellar tomatoes that I used – you can omit it)
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- a pinch saffron threads
- 6 large eggs (really, as much or as little as you want)
- garnishes: chopped cilantro and parsley
Heat a medium sized pan or cast iron skillet on medium heat with coconut oil. When the oil is shimmering, add onion and sauté until translucent, about 5 minutes.
Add the sliced bell pepper and minced garlic and sauté until it all begins to soften.
The merguez goes in next until it is nicely browned.
Make space in a section of the skillet by moving the mixture to one side. Blossom the cumin and harissa paste in the hot fat for a few seconds before mixing it with everything else. Cook for 1 minute while stirring constantly.
The chopped tomatoes go in next. Turn the heat up to medium-high, stirring occasionally. You may have to add a little bit of water everything now and then until the tomatoes turn into a chunky sauce — it really depends on the type of tomatoes you use.
Add the saffron, first by rubbing it against your palm to break it down, along with honey and kosher salt. Make sure the sauce is thin enough to poach the eggs.
Make as many little wells in the tomato sauce as you have eggs. Crack the eggs into the wells and cover the skillet. The eggs will take about 5-8 minutes on the lowest heat setting for the whites to set with the yolks over-easy.Garnish with cilantro and parsley and some freshly ground pepper, if you wish.
Now you see it…
Now you don’t.
[Adapted from Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi’s Jerusalem]