Shakshuka…or ‘spicy eggs with tomatoes’….
This has to be one of my favourite comfort dishes, and one of those things I always seem to have ingredients for, being as it’s mostly eggs, tomtoes, onions and spices. It’s easy to make, and even easier if you make extra sauce and keep it for next time. This version is cobbled together from Ottolenghi’s recipe, and a couple of other versions, to make it as simple as possible. So simple, in fact, that I’ve been pretty vague with amounts, just use your eye and your tastebuds!
- Cumin – whole seeds
- Smoked paprika
- Cayenne Pepper
- One small dried chilli – finely chopped
- Small onion – chopped finely
- Garlic clove – crushed
- One red pepper – chopped into little strips
- Tomatoes – chopped fresh or tinned, and pureed
Dry roast a decent pinch of cumin seeds for a few minutes until they are popping off the surface of the pan, then add the onion, a pinch of paprika, a pinch of cayenne pepper, a pinch of sugar and a glug of olive oil. Stir around coating the onions in the spices for about five minutes.
Then add the peppers, the garlic and the chopped chilli. Add another glug of olive oil and stir this around over a moderate heat for a further five mins. Add the tomatoe puree and the saffron, stir occasionally over a low heat as it slightly reduces.
Crush some basil in your hands to release their flavour, add to the mixture, season with salt and pepper and bubble for a few final minutes.
Turn the grill on, and while it’s heating up transfer the tomato mixture to an ovenproof dish. (You can either use one large dish and break several eggs into it at regular intervals, or use one small dish per person, whichever works for you). Level out the tomato mixture and make a hole in the centre of it, break the egg into the hole, and whack the entire thing under a moderate grill, checking occasionally. It shouldn’t take no longer than ten minutes.
Remove from the grill, season with plenty of pepper, then either eat straight from the dish, or spoon it out onto toasted bread, rubbed with some garlic. I also lightly mashed an avocado and draped some anchovies over the top for an extra salty kick, but just a spoonful of yoghurt or tzatziki would do just as well.