Shakshuka is a popular breakfast dish in the Middle East that gently poaches eggs in a slightly spicy tomato sauce topped with feta and parsley. There are many different versions, that mostly have to do with spiciness and garnishes.
The first time I had it was at a photo shoot in New York at a place called Studio P. In order to get through a long day ahead the studio's best caterer made us Shakshuka. I remember walking into the sunny, warm studio on a cold winter morning to the smells of cumin, tomatoes, and warming bread.
This beautiful dish made me feel like I had walked into a kitchen in Jerusalem. I have served this at fancy brunches for a crowd, for weekday breakfasts, for lunch, and sometimes just for me.
3 tbsp olive oil
1 small yellow onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 large sweet red pepper, diced
1-1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/4 to 1/2 tsp cayenne or chili powder (add more if you like more heat)
1-1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
2 tbsp tomato paste
1 cup water
1 - 25 oz carton Pomi diced tomatoes (use 8-10 fresh Roma tomatoes if they are in season)
1/2 to 1 cup crumbled feta
1/4 cup chopped flat leaf parsley
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cooking Time: 30 minutes
Servings: 4 to 6 servings
Add the olive oil to a large skillet. Warm over medium heat and add one medium diced yellow onion. When the onion softens, add three cloves of minced garlic and cook for 2 to 3 minutes until fragrant.
Add one large diced red pepper, cumin, cayenne or chili powder, salt, and pepper. Stir, add tomato paste, and 1 cup water.
Combine everything with a good stir and add one carton of diced Pomi tomatoes. Stir, cover, and simmer for 20 minutes.
At this point you can turn off the heat until you are 15 minutes from serving or you can cover and refrigerate for a few days until you are ready to serve the dish.
When you are ready to poach the eggs, turn the heat up on the sauce until it softly simmers. Crack the eggs directly into the sauce, spacing them so you have 4 to 6 eggs in a 12-inch skillet. Cover the skillet and let the eggs poach until the whites are set and the yolks are still soft, about 8 to 10 minutes.
Remove the lid, sprinkle 1 tbsp of feta over each egg, cover and cook for another 1 to 2 minutes. Remove the lid and sprinkle 1/2 tsp chopped flat leaf parsley over each egg. To serve, scoop out an egg and some sauce and serve in bowl or plate. Serve with pita, a good crusty bread, or challah.
I like to divide the sauce into 3-4 small containers that I freeze and use as needed. For single servings, reheat the portion of sauce in a small skillet and finish with an egg as you would with the large recipe.