S H A K S H O U K A. My new, absolute favorite breakfast dish. I tried it for the first time last weekend at an awesome French restaurant near my place, called Republique. I’ve been wanting to go there since I moved into the area because the line is down the block every weekend. My pal Urmila—gastronomic guru, host of YouTube channel Mila Makes, and co-founder of Carry On Magazine—was in town last weekend, so we met at Republique to brunch it up. I highly recommend eating there if you’re in the LA area—cool vibes, awesome pastries, and really good food. Like, really good.
So what is Shakshouka, anyway (besides really fun to say)? The dish originated in North Africa, and is essentially eggs in a spicy stew of tomatoes and peppers, but has many variations. I based my recipe off some good, authentic ones Urmila recommended, combined with Republique’s version, and my own little twists.
Republique managed to get a great depth of flavor that was really cumin-forward, so I tried to accomplish the same with mine. I also liked the cool contrast the mint leaves gave to the spiciness and warmth of the dish. They laced it with yogurt (which I forgot to do) that really balanced out the acidity of the tomatoes. I threw in some kale to give it a bit more substance and nutrients, and added basil because the more herbs the better in my book!
Oh, and did I mention the bread!? The bread might be the best part of the whole dish. It’s served with a side of crusty bread you can use to sop up all the delicious, tomatoey sauce and gooey yolk. Mmmmmm. I actually just used the bread as a spoon throughout the whole meal. I mean, what’s better than a spoon you can eat??
- 4-5 eggs
- 1 medium onion
- 1 red bell pepper
- 2-3 cloves garlic (minced or pressed)
- 4 cups (28 oz can) diced or crushed tomatoes
- 2 tbsp tomato paste
- chili powder
- pinch of sugar
- salt and pepper
- olive oil
- 1-2 cups kale, chopped
- feta cheese (optional)
- Greek yogurt (optional)
- Rustic, crusty bread of choice (I used garlic ciabatta)
Heat a cast iron skillet over medium heat. Cut onion and pepper into thin(ish) slices. Add a generous amount of olive oil to the hot pan, along with the peppers and onions. Saute veggies until soft, about 15 minutes. Add garlic to the pan and cook until fragrant.
Add tomatoes and seasonings (chili powder, cumin, paprika, cayenne, coriander, salt and pepper) to taste. You can adjust later, so just start small. Add a pinch of sugar and stir well. Simmer on med-low heat for about 5 minutes. Taste and adjust seasonings, if needed. Roughly chop herbs (parsley, basil, mint) and add to the sauce.
If sauce is looking thick, take a potato masher and crush the tomatoes to create a juicier sauce. Add the chopped kale to the pan, stir, and continue to simmer for 5 more minutes. Taste and adjust seasonings one more time, if needed.
Crack eggs into the sauce, one at a time. I created little divots with the back of a ladle to make a nest for each egg. Let the eggs cook in the sauce until the whites are set and yolks are runny. You can cover with a lid to speed up the process.
While eggs are cooking cut bread into thick slices and grill or toast under the broiler. When eggs are done garnish with more fresh herbs, feta cheese, and yogurt.