Shakshuka Is The Ultimate Comfort Food
Poached eggs are usually two buzzwords that can make any dish better. Shakshuka (or Shakshouka) — a dish of eggs poached in crushed tomato sauce with chili peppers, onions, garlic, paprika, olive oil and cumin — has roots in Libyan, Egyptian, Tunisian, Algerian and Moroccan culture. Over the years it’s also become a staple dish in the Middle East and North Africa and it’s usually associated with Israeli cuisine. There are tons of different varieties of shakshuka, including a green version (St. Patrick’s Day dinner?), which usually calls for tomatillos or serrano peppers and herbs.
You can spice up shakshuka any way you want with cheeses and other vegetables. Culturally, shakshuka is cooked and served in a cast iron skillet or tajine (a clay pot that allows steam to rise, condense and drip back down into the stew or whatever dish you’re cooking) and served with bread to soak up all of the saucy goodness. Cooking in a cast iron skillet is the best method for this dish because it’s non-stick and its hefty nature allows the skillet to hold heat longer than other pans so all of your food cooks at an even temperature.
Shakshuka is the perfect one-pot breakfast and it’s usually easy to whip up with all kinds of ingredients you probably have lying around your kitchen. It’s also an easy dish to share with the whole table if you have a big enough cast iron. The sweet tomato sauce adds an acidic element and all of the flavors come together really nicely, plus the poached eggs balance out the spiciness. Once the yolks are broken and mixed around, the dish reaches another level. The most crucial part of making shakshuka at home is to religiously check the eggs. Once you overcook the eggs, you can never go back, so set a timer and be present while it’s cooking.
If you’re on any kind of Mediterranean diet, this dish is perfect for you. It’s really light but gives you your daily dose of protein and vegetables to start the day. It’s an added bonus that this tomato-based dish is exceptionally photogenic.