Thursday, November 25, 2010

Shakshuka: An energy boost with a twist? Cheese, eggs, and tomatoes have never gone together so well.

Written by: Dean Medina

When looking up the origins of this bowl of tomatoey deliciousness I found its origins in Tunisia, Greece, Kiev, and Libya to name just a few (each claiming ownership of the original recipe).

Regardless of its beginning, shakshouka (meaning “all mixed up” in Hebrew) has become a staple of Israeli cuisine. Essentially at its core shakshouka mixes tomatoes, tomato paste, eggs and olive oil. It is an extremely filling (and oh so delicious!) dish (make sure you’re hungry!) and today comes in endless varieties ranging from cream cheese to goat cheese and salmon to tuna shakshouka (you can pretty much add whatever you want to the basic mixture).

About four months ago I tried what was probably the most delicious shakshouka I have ever tried in a quaint restaurant off the beaten path on Ben Yehuda street, Shilshom something, in Jerusalem. It was the basic deal with the addition of goat cheese and eggplant with labaneh (yoghurt cheese) on the side and was enough to feed two people. Since I’ve been back I have made many attempts to try and replicate what I ate that night, but have failed miserably. After a number of attempts I decided to look up some recipes online and came up with this basic recipe which didn’t quite match the true Israeli taste but came pretty damn close (sort of).
Here it is for your eating pleasure, enjoy!!!


·         1 tablespoon vegetable oil
·         1/2 yellow onions, finely chopped
·         1 tablespoon tomato paste
·         2 tablespoons harissa paste or 1 tablespoons smoked paprika
·         3 medium garlic cloves, minced
·         4 medium jarred roasted bell peppers, small dice (about 1 cup)
·         1 (28 ounce) can crushed tomatoes with juices
·         1 tablespoons kosher salt
·         1/4 cup finely chopped fresh parsley leaves
·         4 large eggs
·         Pita bread or baguette, for serving


Heat oil in a medium frying pan over medium heat. When it shimmers, add onion and cook until just softened, about 2 to 3 minutes. Stir in tomato paste, harissa, and garlic, and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add peppers and stir to coat. Add tomatoes and salt and bring to a simmer. Reduce heat to low and cook, stirring occasionally, until thickened, about 30 minutes.
Stir in half of the parsley, break the eggs over the tomatoes. Cover and continue to cook for about 7 to 8 minutes, until the eggs are set. Sprinkle remaining parsley, season with freshly ground black pepper and serve immediately with pita bread or baguette

Or if you are more of a visual learner, check this different recipe out:

While most of the recipes call for vegetable oil, I think you’re better off with extra virgin olive oil. Feel free to add pretty much whatever you want to it. I think goat cheese and some hot sauce top it off, but I’ll leave it up to you.

Happy eating!

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