Another month, another cookbook to try out from the Food52 Cookbook Club. This time, it’s any of the books written by Yotam Ottolenghi.
Three of these books are familiar to me… I’ve cooked from Ottolenghi, Plenty and Jerusalem already. And I’ve told you about some of the dishes (search for Ottolenghi to check those entries). In the past, I’ve most often zeroed in on the salad recipes and they’ve all been very successful. This time though, it’s a new dish for me: shakshuka.
As you will see, this is a mixture of peppers, tomatoes, onions and spices which are cooked together to make a kind of sauce. Then, when the vegetables are cooked, eggs are broken into indents made in the vegetables and poached. The whole dish is served with bread to wipe out the serving dish. I appreciated having the bread because shakshuka is delicious and I didn’t want to miss out on any of it.
Here’s how this recipe came together.
Got the cumin seeds.
After dry roasting the seeds in a fry pan, added some olive oil and the onions and cooked them for 2 minutes.
While the onions are softening, get started on the peppers.
Measured the brown sugar.
Grabbed some parsley.
Found and measured the other spices and herbs necessary.
Added the peppers, sugar, thyme and parsley (forgot to buy cilantro!) to the onions.
While that’s cooking, got the tomatoes…
…and chopped them.
The peppers and onions are ready for more ingredients.
Added the tomatoes.
Added the saffron, cayenne, salt and pepper too.
You could make the dish up to this point and reheat the necessary amount when you were ready to continue.
After 15 minutes, the happy vegetables were ready for the eggs. Made an indent in the vegetables, cracked and egg into each space and covered the pan with a lid.
Top with parsley and serve.
If you’d like to make this too:
1/2 tsp cumin seeds
3/4 cup light olive oil or vegetable oil
2 large onions, peeled and sliced
2 red and 2 yellow peppers, cored and cut into 3/4″ strips
4 tsp muscovado sugar
2 bay leaves
6 sprigs thyme, picked and chopped
2 tbsp flat-leaf parsley, chopped
1 bunch fresh cilantro, chopped (plus extra for garnish)
6 ripe tomatoes, roughly chopped
1/2 tsp saffron strands
Pinch of cayenne pepper
Salt and pepper
Up to 1-1/8 cups water
8 free-range eggs
In a very large saucepan, dry-roast the cumin seeds on high heat for two minutes. Add the oil and sauté the onions for two minutes. Add the peppers, sugar, bay leaves, thyme, parsley and two tablespoons of coriander, and cook on high heat to get a nice colour (between 5 and 10 minutes). Add the tomatoes, saffron, cayenne, salt and pepper. Cook on low heat for 15 minutes, adding enough water to keep it the consistency of a pasta sauce. Taste and adjust the seasoning. It should be potent and flavoursome. You can prepare this mix in advance.
Place four saucepans on medium heat and divide the mixture between them. Break two eggs into each pan, pouring into gaps in the mixture. Sprinkle with salt, cover and cook very gently for 10-12 minutes, until the egg just sets. Sprinkle with coriander and serve with chunky white bread.