For this post, I’m going to take some time to delve into one dish in particular: Shakshuka.
Regular brunch-eaters will no doubt have come across shakshuka at one time or another, it’s a great dish and absolutely perfect as hearty fare for a late start to the day.
I’ve spoken about it previously on this site, but was discussing it with someone recently and it seems that to some, it falls into a similar category as bolognese or lasagne, in that everyone’s home recipe is considered the best! This is no bad thing however, because it gives a whole range of variations to work with and try for yourself. Which you should – it’s delicious!
I personally can’t say that I’ve ever been served two shakshuka dishes which were the same, and despite its north African origins it’s become a morning staple in many countries so it’s always going to be worth ordering.
So, what makes a great shakshuka? Well the core ingredients are eggs and tomato, but after that there are a whole host of possibilities that you could go for. I did a little investigating and here’s what my research has uncovered:
- On this side of the pond, Guardian journalist Felicity Cloake also attempted to answer this very question with her article How to make the perfect shakshuka. I particularly like her emphasis on including additional vegetables, which if cooked well, can add great texture to the dish (Cloake’s recipe suggests using either peppers, aubergine, courgettes, or boiled potatoes, depending on the desired outcome.)
- Irish food writer Donal Skehan has also offered a variation on the theme in the form of his 30-minute recipe for Harissa baked eggs, a version which relies on chickpeas instead of vegetables to give the dish some extra body. Skehan’s recipe is accompanied by a straightforward video tutorial to guide you through the dish, presented with his ever-cheerful and encouraging brand of enthusiasm.
- Food Republic refers to it at the ‘Israeli Breakfast of Champions‘ and recommends a recipe found in NYC chef Einat Admony’s Mediterranean cookbook Balaboosta. (For foodies in, or visiting New York, Admony also runs a restaurant of the same name which serves brunch from 11h00-15h30 on Saturdays and Sundays.)
Wondering about how to serve it up at home? I’ve often found it looks fantastic served in a black dish, such as a cast iron skillet or a Le Creuset-style shallow casserole dish, to really make the most of the contrast of the shock of bright red, yellow and orange colours against the heavy black background. However, it’s such an inviting dish that no matter how you decide to present it, it’ll look great to hungry guests and makes for glorious comfort food!
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