My first taste of this classic Middle Eastern dish was at an entirely inauthentic location—a fast casual tea shop near my job. Nevertheless, it was an amazing experience. I’m no stranger to tomato sauces, but I’d never had one in quite this way—zesty and seasoned with earthy spices like paprika and cumin. Paired with a velvety poached egg, this combination is my new “comfort food” favorite. I only had the dish a few times at that shop before I left that job, but I never forgot about it. I couldn’t resist doing a little research to create my own version. I have no idea how accurate my recipe is, but it’s good enough to satisfy my shakshuka cravings. A few hours after I snapped the photo above, a friend advised me to add feta cheese. She was not wrong—even better with feta!
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 small (4-ounce) onion, chopped
1 medium (6-ounce) red bell pepper, chopped
1 medium (1 ounce) hot chili pepper [e.g. jalapeño], cored and chopped
3 medium garlic cloves, minced (or 1 tablespoon minced fresh garlic)
1 tablespoon paprika
1/2 tablespoon ground cumin
28-ounce can crushed tomatoes
1/2 tablespoon kosher salt
1/2 ounce fresh parsley
medium (3-quart) sauté pan [deep skillet] – with lid
1. Heat oil in pan over medium-high heat until shimmering.
2. Add onion, peppers, garlic, paprika, and cumin. Stir well, then let cook until veggies are tender and begin to brown—about 6 minutes.
3. Add crushed tomatoes, then season with salt.
4. Reduce heat to medium-low. Simmer 10 minutes. Meanwhile, chop parsley.
5. Make a well in the sauce and crack an egg into it. Repeat with remaining eggs. Garnish with parsley.
6. Cover pan and let cook until eggs have set—about 6 minutes.
NOTES & TIPS
• In the right light, hot oil looks faintly iridescent; it “shimmers”. The surface also develops faint ripples. Don’t see it? Drop a tiny bit of diced veggies in the skillet. If oil immediately froths up, it is hot enough to cook with.
• Make Ahead Tip: Make the sauce first, but wait until it’s time to reheat it for serving to add the eggs. To reheat in batches, portion about 3/4 cup of sauce per egg.