Shakshouka: Poached Eggs in Tomato Sauce
As the cold weather rolls in, it's natural to feel ourselves wanting more warm, comforting foods. This is the body's sign of adapting to the winter season, and helping us know what it needs in the colder weather. (The last thing I want to eat on a 30 degree day is a meal consisting of primarily raw food, for example, a big salad as my main dish. I know it's not great for my body, either, because when I eat it I feel cold afterwards and will often get a stomach ache.)
One of my favorite breakfasts this time of year is shakshouka, a staple of North African and Middle Eastern countries such as Tunisia, Libya, Algeria, Morocco, Egypt and Israel. The ingredients in the dish vary slightly from country to country, but the most traditional recipe is very basic, consisting of crushed tomatoes, hot peppers (optional), garlic, salt, paprika, olive oil and poached eggs.
If you're in a rush, you can always substitute a nice tomato sauce for crushed tomatoes, and then add extra garlic, hot pepper and paprika if you want. This is what I did since I didn't have much time this morning. The tomato sauce I used had garlic, herbs, salt and spices in it, so all I added was a dash of paprika as the sauce was cooking, and then black pepper, grated pecorino romano, and olive oil at the end. If you enjoy spicy food, add some cayenne at the same time as you add the paprika. Shakshouka is traditionally served with warm or toasted bread to soak up the sauce.
P.S. Here’s an alternative to step #2: Instead of letting the eggs set and sauce finish cooking on the stove top, you can put the pan in the oven, uncovered, at 375 degrees for 7-10 minutes. But of course you’ll want to preheat your oven beforehand.
Prep time: 5 minutes
Cook time: About 10 minutes
Servings: 1-2 (great for two people to share if you’re going for lighter fare)
2 pasture raised eggs
1/3 jar of Newman's Own Common Good Tomato Basil Sauce (high quality and super tasty, plus all profits go to charity)
Extra virgin olive oil
Pecorino romano cheese, grated
1. Heat tomato sauce in cast iron pan. Stir in a dash of paprika and cumin; let sauce come to low boil.
2. Gently crack eggs over the tomato sauce; cover and simmer for 7-10 minutes, or until eggs are just set. You want the egg whites to turn white but you don’t want the yolks to cook through, and you want the sauce to have reduced slightly. *Option 2: Instead of letting the eggs set and sauce finish cooking on the stove top, you can put the pan in the oven, uncovered, at 375 degrees for 7-10 minutes. (Make sure oven was preheated beforehand.)
3. Once the eggs are set, turn off the heat and remove the lid (or remove pan from oven); drizzle olive oil over top of eggs and tomato sauce.
4. Finish with a sprinkle of black pepper and grated pecorino romano cheese. Serve with bread for dipping.
*This dish is extra tasty when topped off with fresh herbs, but I didn't have any in my kitchen today. If you've got some fresh parsley or cilantro around, use it to garnish your shakshouka.