Shakshuka (Savory Baked Eggs)

shakshuka

Shakshuka is the quintessential savory egg dish. It's spicy, bold, bright, and comforting - perfect for any meal from breakfast to dinner. Originally North African in origin, the dish is now found across the Middle East - especially in Israel where it's a breakfast staple.

Caramelized peppers and onions are combined with warming spices in a rich tomato sauce. Then the eggs are gently added and topped with salty tangy feta before baking until just set.  Served with whole wheat sourdough or pita bread for sopping, it really doesn't get any better.

I make this a lot for weekend brunch. What's great is the sauce scales beautifully so you can serve anywhere from 2-6 with the recipe as written and depending on what else is being served. Plus, you can make the sauce a day ahead for super fast assembly in the morning. If it's just me and Ravi, I'll freeze half the sauce and transfer what's left to an 8-inch skillet for baking (as pictured). 

Shakshuka (Savory Baked Eggs)

Serves 4-6 

2 Tbs. extra virgin olive oil
1 large onion, vertically sliced
1 red bell pepper, thinly sliced
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 Tbs. tomato paste
2 tsp. cumin
1 Tbs. sweet paprika
1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes (or to taste)
1-28 ounce can crushed tomatoes
1 tsp. sea salt

4-6 eggs
1/3 cup feta, crumbled
2-3 Tbs. parsley and/or cilantro, roughly chopped

Whole wheat sourdough bread, for serving

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

In a large oven safe skillet, heat olive oil to medium. Add onion and bell pepper. Sauté for 10-15 minutes until they start to brown and caramelize. Don't rush this process as you want the flavors to really develop. Add the garlic and sauté for another minute. Then, add the tomato paste and spices. Combine well and cook for 2-3 minutes more. Next, add the crushed tomatoes and salt. Let simmer 10-15 minutes.  Taste for salt and spice - adjust as needed.

At this point, you can leave the sauce on the side until you're ready to cook the eggs and eat.  I've even made it the night before and then reheated in the morning, which makes breakfast or brunch SO much easier.

To cook the eggs, make 4-6 wells in the skillet with the back of a spoon. Crack the eggs into the individual wells and gently spoon a bit of sauce over the whites of each egg. Top with crumbled feta.  Carefully transfer the skillet to a preheated oven and bake for 5-8 minutes until the whites are set, but the yolks are still runny. The eggs will continue to cook once removed from the oven, so I tend to pull them slightly shy of how I like them. Top with parsley and/or cilantro. For plating, I bring the entire skillet to the table for presentation and serve in shallow bowls with a slice of toasted sourdough.

This recipe was inspired by Serious Eats and Melissa Clark of the New York Times.