Silvie’s Shakshuka (Shawk-shook-uh)
There is no more perfect a dish to begin this blog with than Shakshuka, meaning “a mixture” in the North African Berber dialect Tamazight because Shakshuka was the first “Israeli” dish I learned how to cook when I moved to Israel. My soon-to-be Tunisian mother-in-law taught it to me as her mother taught it to her, and I make it about once a week. Have it for breakfast in a small pan with one egg, have it for lunch or have it for dinner. Or make it smaller, cut the pepper in long strips, crank up the heat and serve it as a spicy small side dish.
serves: 4 moderately hungry people
4-5 garlic cloves; minced or chopped finely
1-2 tblsp olive oil
8 oz of your favorite tomato sauce or just one can of diced tomatoes (if you’re in Israel, just use the shakshuka sauce sold in cans or plastic containers)
2 red bell peppers; diced
1/2 green bell pepper; diced
1/2 hot pepper; chopped finely
4 eggs (or one per person)
salt and pepper to taste (this will depend upon the flavor of the sauce you choose)
My additions: 1 tsp turmeric; 1/2 yellow onion, diced; 1 C spinach, chard, kale or your favorite leafy green, chopped; dried or fresh parsley to sprinkle. If you don’t have the right peppers on hand, any color will do just fine.
Heat up your oil in a pan on medium heat. Add the garlic and when you begin to salivate, add the turmeric and onion. Mix in the turmeric well. After a few minutes, pour in your tomato sauce, add your salt and pepper (I use quite a bit of pepper and about 1/2 tsp of salt) and lower your heat to med-low. When it begins to boil (or after about five minutes), add the peppers and hot pepper. Stir in the peppers until well blended. If it looks like your sauce isn’t sauce-y anymore, add in a tblsp of water, or if you begin to smell it burning, add in a tblsp of water. Then add in your leafy green of choice. Now, DO NOT MIX YOUR SHAKSHUKA ANYMORE. Crack the eggs one by one on either side of your pan. Take a fork and spread the egg white around so it isn’t creating a puddle in each spot. Cover with foil if you’re short on time (will take about 15 min. to cook) or let it cook uncovered until the whites are cooked. Cook until the eggs yolks are only slightly hard. (You can see I spread out the entire eggs, which you can do, too.) Sprinkle parsley on top. Enjoy!