Shakshuka – eggs in tomato sauce
Not sure what the origin of shakshuka is (Ottolenghi says Tunisia) but it is very popular in Israel as a breakfast dish. Shakshuka is easy to prepare and kind of exotic looking if you cook and serve it in a cast iron skillet. It’s a good dish for a large breakfast crowd as you can cook it in a large skillet with as many eggs as can fit in and your guests can spoon their portion of cooked egg and tomato sauce on their plates. In the summer I use large sun ripe tomatoes, they lend wonderful freshness to the dish, but organic canned tomatoes also work and in absence of fresh field tomatoes right now I made it with canned as well.
The basis for the dish is onion, red pepper and tomatoes cooked in a little olive oil to a chunky sauce, then you make a few indents in the sauce and break eggs into them. You continue to cook the dish until the white is cooked and the yolks are still soft. Serve it with good crusty bread and labne (see recipe here).
I think about food 24/7, can’t help it. I just came back from a walk and realized that the whole time food was going through my mind, what I’d like to cook, what I’d like to eat, what I should make for tomorrow night’s dinner for company. Maybe 24/7 is a slight exaggeration but believe me, only slight. I leave room for operas and a couple of other passions, but food juxtaposes everything it seems. Good thing I have this blog.
I was invited on a media tour of a few wineries in the Bottleneck area around Summerland and Penticton the other day. I find it interesting to see people that had completely different careers drop everything they know and take their life in a different direction, in this case learn how to grow grapes and make wine. It looks glamorous from the outside, and perhaps it has its glamorous moments, but working a winery is farming in its essence and very hard work. Does it pay off? you know what they say, that the best way to make a small fortune in wine is to start with a big one. It seems to be a labour of love and people who tend vineyards and make wine do it because they are passionate about what they do. Are you passionate about what you do?
Recipe serves 2-4
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/3 cup chopped onion
1 small red pepper
1 small can diced organic tomatoes
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
Heat olive oil in a skillet, add onion and cook until it softens.
Add the red pepper, cumin and thyme and cook for about 5 minutes until the peppers are soft.
Add the tomatoes, bring to a simmer and continue to cook about 5-6 minutes until the sauce thickens but don’t let it dry.
With a wooden spoon create 4 nests in the sauce and break an egg into each nest.
Cover the dish and continue to cook until the whites are set and the yolks are still runny.
Sprinkle the dish with a few extra thyme leaves.
Serve with crusty bread and labne.