Back in March I tore a Jill Dupleix recipe for Shakshuka (baked eggs) http://www.goodfood.com.au/good-food/cook/spicy-shakshuka-20130218-2em6i.html from the pages of The Sydney Morning Herald’s Good Food supplement. I’d never heard of Shakshuka, but something about the combination of the rich tomato sauce and baked egg appealed to me. We often have a glut of tomatoes in February so I filed this recipe away for tomato season.
Since first reading about it in March, I kept coming across Shakshuka references in the food media. When I travelled to Melbourne in August I headed to Brunswick Street for breakfast after catching an early morning flight. The menu at Martha Ray’s featured Shakshuka and I was excited to try it (the kind waitress was forgiving of my hesitant pronunciation). With its Middle Eastern spices, thick tomato sauce, and soft-cooked egg, Shakshuka didn’t disappoint and I returned home eager to try Jill Dupleix’s recipe.
I made Shakshuka to share with friends and they know it as Sicilian Eggs. So while Shakshuka has Middle Eastern roots, my guess is different cultures and families have their own versions, perhaps with different names. Do you have your own name for Shakshuka?
With litres of frozen preserved tomatoes on hand Shakshuka has become a regular dish at the Trousdale household. I prefer a richer tomato flavour, so I don’t always use eggplant or capsicum if they are not in the house or garden. Shakshuka can be served in invidividual cast iron pans, but if you’re cooking for a family a baking pan works well. This is my interpretation of Shakshuka if you’d like to try it.
Rich Tomato Shakshuka
Ingredients: Olive oil, 1 Spanish onion, four garlic cloves, 800g tinned tomatoes, tablespoon of tomato paste, six Chorizo sausage, bunch of mixed greens (kale, silverbeet, English spinach, broccoli leaves), stems removed and leaves chopped roughly, teaspoon harissa (optional), teaspoon ground cumin, teaspoon paprika, four to six eggs depending on size of dish and number of people. Salt, pepper, parmesan and slices of rustic loaf of bread to serve.
Method: Preheat oven to 160 degrees celcius. Slice Spanish onion thinly and soften over a medium to high heat in a tablespoon of olive oil. When onion is softened, lower temperature to medium heat and cook garlic until soft (two minutes). Add Chorizo and cook until firm, then slice and return to the pan. Add 800g of tinned tomatoes (I use thawed preserved tomatoes, but tinned tomatoes are delicious too), a tablespoon of tomato paste, a teaspoon each of harissa, ground cumin and ground paprika, and chopped greens, and simmer until thickened (about 20 minutes, depending on how much time you have, the flavour only gets better with more time). Add water if need be and simmer to adjust sauce consistency. Transfer Chorizo and tomato sauce to a baking pan. I love the visual appeal of the red tomato sauce in a red rimmed Falcon enamel baking pan, but use what you have. Depending on the number of eggs you are using, make the same number of ‘dishes’ with the back of a ladle or soup spoon in the sauce mixture and crack an egg into each. Cover the baking pan with foil and return to the over for about 10 minutes. When eggs are baked to you liking, spoon mixture and eggs into bowls and serve with slices of rustic bread (sometimes I serve with cous cous and a salad). Enjoy.