When you’re down to the dregs of your pantry, and your refrigerator is about to be bare, what do you make for dinner? Well, if you’re me, and you’ve put off shopping for some weeks (out of business and a bit of laziness), you take the last two eggs you’ve got and crack them into a bubbling pan of tomato sauce. Add a few hunks of bread and you’ve got a quick meal of shakshuka, a Middle Eastern dish, for one or two to help clean out your pantry.
This meal can be done quick with just a few eggs and tomato sauce from a can, or it can be elaborate with chopped onions, peppers, an a dozen eggs baked in the oven. Like all of my favorite recipes, it’s really up to what you’re in the mood for and what ingredients you’ve got on hand. And no matter how much you pretty it up, it will always be a relatively cheap, satisfying dish. It would be really hard to mess this dish up.
Recipe: Easy Shakshuka
Makes 1-2 servings
- 2-4 eggs
- 14oz can of tomato sauce
- 1/4 cup chopped onions
- 1 tsp olive oil
- 1/2 tsp dried red chili flakes (optional)
- salt and pepper to taste
- Saute the onions and olive oil in a small sauce pan or skillet for just a minute or so. You want the onions to retain a bit of crunch in the final dish. If you are smarter than me, you will think ahead and use a pan with sides that will be higher than the sauce to curb splatters. When choosing a pot or pan, make sure it is not much bigger than 8 inches in diameter so that your sauce is deep enough. If you plan on doubling or tripling the recipe, you can of course use a larger pan.
- Lower heat and pour in the tomato sauce. Give the pan a good stir and make sure the onions are not stuck at the bottom or they will burn. Add dried pepper flakes, salt and pepper to taste. Bring the heat back up so the sauce will come to a boil.
- When the sauce is bubbling, give it one last stir (this will be the last chance to make sure nothing has stuck to the bottom of the pan) and then add the eggs one by one, leaving some space between them. This is my favorite part because the eggs are so beautiful when the whites are still translucent and the yolks are suspended (see image below).
- Cover and allow to cook for about 10 minutes. The eggs should no longer be transparent (see image above).
- Remove from heat, and allow to cool for another 10 minutes before serving.
Each serving should contain at least one egg. Serve for any meal, along with thick slices of your favorite bread, or some pita pockets. This can be served as a side or a main dish and can be dressed up in any number of ways. Try adding cheese or fresh herbs at the end. Have with an Israeli salad on the side (chopped cucumber and tomato) or just dip chips or bread right into a bowl full of it.
One year ago: Dilly Potatoes
About this author: I'm a New Yorker who would rather cook than go out to restaurants. Sometimes I think I may be in the wrong city for that. Then I remember the exotic ingredients I'd be hard-pressed to find if I lived somewhere else. My cooking style is an eclectic range of everyday-American, Italian, middle-eastern, with extensive forays into Japanese cuisine, and some pit-stops into Indian and African cuisines. I love to try my hand at recreating dishes I taste. While I enjoy most anything with a flavor, from high cuisine to instant junk food, I have a soft spot in my belly for home-style cooking no matter the geographic or ethnic origin. Read more from this author...