Happy Easter, y’all! Let’s cook with eggs!
Shakshuka, a traditional Middle Eastern dish where eggs are poached in a stew of tomatoes, peppers, and onions, was an entirely foreign concept to me. Growing up in a small town and moving to only a slightly larger town where every restaurant is either Italian or a Wine Country spin on California cuisine can certainly limit one’s encounters with foods from far off lands.
When I first saw the recipe for Shakshuka with Fennel and Feta in Food & Wine, I ripped it out because it met my low calorie, low fat requirements for a weeknight meal. But there was a part of me that thought, “Eggs in tomato sauce…I don’t know about this.” At least a year has passed and now I’m cooking almost every night (because I have the time and it’s glorious!) and our grocery bills are skyrocketing with all the salmon, chicken, and shrimp purchases. All of a sudden, the humble egg is beginning to look like a pretty appealing option to throw into the dinner mix.
This one pot, quick cooking meal is richly flavorful and super satisfying. It proved me wrong in all the right ways because it is divine. The most work you’ll have to do is chopping the onions, chile peppers, and fennel. I strongly suggest topping the final product with the suggested feta and parsley. Laziness can rear its ugly head in the kitchen when there is one last step, like sprinkling something that needs to be chopped over the top of the dish. Hunger, exhaustion, eagerness to watch New Girl, all of these things cloud my judgment and I skip that last step. But this time, do it – the salty feta and fresh, clean taste of the parsley are a perfect accompaniment to the tomato stew and runny egg yolk.
A couple of notes on eggs and spices. If egg yolks freak you out, cook your eggs a little longer. I cooked mine covered for closer to 7 or 8 minutes rather than the suggested 5. If spicy food freaks you out, use a single serrano or half the harissa. I find harissa to be the kind of spicy that warms a dish up and makes it extra flavorful rather than burny, but my taste buds are not your taste buds.
Serve with whole wheat pita to help soak up some of the stew and yolk and you will not be disappointed.