Wheat free * Dairy free * Gluten free * Vegetarian * Parve * Paleo
It would be lovely if I could tell you that I fell in love with Shashuka while I was in Israel or when I first tasted it in my favorite middle eastern restaurant, however, truth be told, I saw the recipe in the cookbook Plenty: Vibrant Vegetable Recipes from London’s Ottolenghi and was compelled to try it. Turns out it’s quite yummy and a great way to use ripe summer tomatoes. The first time I made Shashuka was last summer. I followed the recipe to a “T”, except I confess it goes against my very being to use 1/2 cup oil in a recipe that serves 4 – so I reduced it to 1/4 cup – everything else I did exactly…until it came to adding the 1 cup of water. The recipe said to add water until the mixture is saucy – but my mixture was so saucy before I added even a drop of water that I just shrugged my shoulders and figured it was just another poorly written recipe – how disappointing. The end result, however was quite delicious. Scroll forward 6 months. It’s January, I’m making Shashuka for company and this time my tomatoes are just not giving off any juices. Suddenly I need that 1 cup of water to make the recipe work – so Mr. Ottolenghi, I apologize for doubting you.
Two weeks ago when I made Ratatouille, Irwin had brought me beautiful tomatoes from his garden. This week Sheila brought me tomatoes from her garden
which is why I was moved to make Shakshuka in the first place. There will be many more tomato recipes to come very soon.
Although traditionally an egg dish, the tomato-pepper mixture would also be delicious as a baked potato topper. You could also use it as a filling for an omelet.
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 cups onion slices (1/4-inch thick)
2 cups sliced red or yellow or orange bell pepper
3 cloves garlic, minced (1 tablespoon minced)
4 cups ripe tomato wedges
2 bay leaves
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon chopped fresh oregano or 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
4 sprigs fresh thyme or 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme leaves
Pinch red pepper flakes, optional
1/3 cup combination of chopped parsley and cilantro + additional for garnish
Broth or tomato sauce as needed
Salt to taste
4 to 6 eggs (or use poached eggs and skip step 4)
- In a large skillet, heat the oil over medium high heat. Add the onions, peppers, and garlic; cook, stirring until softened, about 2 to 3 minutes.
- Add the tomatoes, bay leaves, cumin, thyme, and pepper flakes, if using.
- Cook, uncovered, over medium high heat, stirring occasionally, for 15 minutes or until the vegetables are sauce-like.
- If your tomatoes are not juicy enough to create a sauce, add as much broth or water as necessary to make the mixture the consistency of chunky tomato sauce.
- Add the cilantro-parsley mixture, simmer 10 minutes longer.
- Discard bay leaves and stems from fresh thyme.
- Preheat oven to 400°F. When the sauce is ready you can refrigerate it for later use or place the eggs on top of the shakshuka
- and bake 6 minutes or until the eggs are done to your taste.
- Sprinkle with additional chopped parsley for garnish, if desired.
Serves: 2 to 3