Saturday, July 6, 2013

Traditional Delights from the Ottoman Empire

Move over Huevos Rancheros, you've just been replaced as my new favorite with the spicy egg & tomato concoction--Shakshouka, which is a traditional northern African dish popular in Morocco, Algeria and Tunisia as well as Israel. Introduced to me by one of my regular egg customers in the city, I quickly realized that the staples needed for this spicy amalgamation of garlic, onion, peppers, tomatoes and spices are just coming into season at the local markets, I couldn't help but pass along this recipe to everyone. Best of all, it's an extremely healthy meal, especially for all you Paleo/Primal eaters! {hint: make a double or triple batch and then just spoon out a few scoopfuls each time you want to cook up a few eggs)

Yes, one of my friends actually sent me a postcard from there.

Tunisian breakfast dish of eggs poached in a rich, spicy tomato sauce  
3 tablespoons olive oil                          1 small onion, sliced
2 garlic cloves, minced                         1 bell pepper, sliced finely
2 cups tomatoes, cubed                         1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika
2 teaspoon ground cumin                     1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
1/4 teaspoon harissa or cayenne         1/4 teaspoon turmeric powder
Salt & ground black pepper 6 eggs

In a large frying pan or saucepan, fry the onions, garlic and peppers in olive oil until they become glossy and soft, about 10 minutes on medium-high heat. Add the spices and stir, cooking for about two minutes to release the oils. Add the tomatoes and simmer for about an hour, or until the onions and peppers are very soft (your patience will be rewarded). Add a splash of water here and there to make sure the sauce doesn’t burn. Crack in the eggs and let them simmer for about five minutes, or until the whites have set. Alternatively (making it menemen), dribble in whisked eggs and cook until set. Serve with warm flatbread and a sprinkle of parsley. 

At the suggestion of my customer, I began by charring both the peppers and tomatoes using my gas burners to remove the skin and lend a roasted flavor. This can also easily be done on the grill.

Delicious and easy to make with a few simple ingredients from your local farmers market or your garden.
 The next step is to add artichoke hearts, potato and fava beans and top with a good feta. And of course, adding in any of Painted Hand Farm's sausages (or any others from your local farmers market) would fare well with this recipe. 

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