Breakfast – Shakshouka
Originating from Tunisia, and then spreading through the middle east and mediterranean, there are variations of this dish throughout the regions. At its heart is a dish of spicy tomatoes and capsicums providing a nest for some lightly cooked eggs. As well as being the perfect dish for brunch, you could easily baulk this up for dinner. Claudia Roden suggests using artichoke hearts and potatoes during winter months; Yotam Ottolenghi recommends lots of multi-coloured capsicum and a blast of coriander; Deb Perelman from Smitten Kitchen adds fetta.
Which ever way you do this, just make lots of it and serve it at table in the pan it’s made. With crusty or toasted pita bread, some strong coffee and good conversation, nothing else is needed.
6 large ripe tomatoes or 2 x 400g tins diced tomatoes; 1 tbsp olive oil; 1 brown onion, diced; 1 small bird’s-nest chilli, de-seeded and sliced OR a good pinch of cayenne; 2 small capsicums (choose one of each colour for added flavour); 1 tsp paprika; 1 tsp ground cumin; 1 tsp raw sugar or brown sugar to taste; sea salt and pepper, to taste; ½ bunch of coriander (optional); 1 bay leaf; 6-8 eggs depending on your appetite; 2 tbsp flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped
If you are using fresh tomatoes, cut a small cross into the skins and plunge them into a small saucepan of simmering water for two minutes. Peel off the skins and roughly chop them up, seeds and all. Set aside.
Heat a large heavy-based frypan over medium heat and add the oil. Add onion and chilli or cayenne and sauté for five minutes until the onion starts to soften.
While the onion is cooking, de-seed each capsicum and cut into thin strips. Add the capsicum, paprika, cumin, sugar, salt and pepper to taste, chopped coriander leaf and one bay leaf to the tomato mixture and stir to combine. Reduce the heat to medium-low, cover the saucepan with a lid and simmer the sauce for ten minutes to reduce the juices a little and to soften the capsicum.
Use the back of a large spoon to make some indentations in the surface of the sauce and crack the eggs carefully into each hollow. Cover again and cook until the eggs are just set, about five to six minutes.
Sprinkle with parsley and take the loaded fry-pan to the table with lots of crusty or toasted bread on the side and let everyone serve themselves.
$8.70 for four people using tinned tomatoes.