Shakshuka in Israel is a magical dish. Similar to the hotly contested pizza slice in New York or the hunt for the best burrito in San Francisco, everyone has an opinion on where to get the best shakshuka in the holy land. I can’t speak for Jerusalem, but in Tel Aviv it’s a tie: Benedict or Dr. Shakshuka.
Just like hummus (which also inevitably sparks an argument on where to find the best bowl), shakshuka is simple, easy to make at home, and can serve as a flavor palette, embracing countless spices and added ingredients.
This weekend I traveled to DC for a mini college reunion with friends. From the moment I arrived, we were blessed with nonstop rainy weather. We decided to escape the storms on Sunday and set out to make a killer brunch at home. Three health food nuts with a passion for cooking resulted in a scrumptious feast of kale/celery/apple/carrot juice, vegan banana pancakes, and heaping portions of shakshuka. Check out the recipe below for my quick shakshuka in its simplest form and get creative with your variations!
*Ideas for additions: pesto, jalapeno, za’atar, cayenne, spinach…the possibilities are endless!
1 large red bell pepper, cleaned and chopped (slice in half, remove the stem and seeds)
1 small yellow onion, diced
2 cloves of garlic, minced
4 large tomatoes, chopped
1/2 tablespoon of olive oil
7 eggs (this served 4 girls)
1 avocado, chopped
Salt, pepper, added spices (I used dried thyme)
Using a large pan (cast iron skillet would work well), heat the oil over medium heat and immediately add in the minced garlic.
Saute for 1-2 minutes and add in the onion and red pepper, stirring occasionally and letting the vegetables soften over heat for 5-7 minutes.
Next, dump in all of the chopped tomatoes, making sure to include all of the juicy guts and seeds. Continue sauteing over medium heat for 8-10 minutes and stir occasionally. Add a few grinds of pepper and a pinch (about 1 teaspoon) of salt. I also added thyme and would recommend a few shakes of red pepper flakes for a kick. The tomatoes should begin to break down, reaching a similar consistency to chunky pasta sauce.
When the vegetables seem to have reached a sauce-like texture, go ahead and crack your eggs on top, keeping the pan over heat but lowering it slightly. Take care to crack them in an evenly dispersed pattern.
From here, the recipe is very hands-off. Keep an eye on your eggs as they begin to whiten and the sauce starts sizzling off its excess water. I like to cover the pan to ensure the eggs cook well.
After about 10 minutes, add the chopped avocado and replace the lid, cooking for an additional few minutes or until the yolk has reached your desired consistency.
Finish with a few more grinds of pepper and some added salt. Serve up your shakshuka with a big spoon, some hot sauce or tahini, and a hunk of crusty bread or toasted pita and enjoy!