Brought over from Sephardic Jews from northern Africa, shakshuka has become a staple dish in Israeli cuisine. In the dish, a rich tomato sauce spiced with cumin and cinnamon serves as the base for poaching eggs until they’re just set. Mimi Kitani of the beloved Mimi’s Hummus in NYC offers her recipe, which she serves at the restaurant with house-made pita.
While simple, the sauce for shakshuka is where the dish gets its flavor. Roasting tomatoes and onions to add to the sauce is crucial for achieving a smoky, complex flavor. Then cooking it low and slow in a cast-iron pan reduces it into a thick sauce that will hold the eggs. Maintain that simmer after you add the eggs to ensure they keep their shape for a beautiful and flavorful breakfast, brunch or breakfast-for-dinner dish.
- 2 plum tomatoes, peeled and divided
- 5 tablespoons olive oil, divided
- ½ yellow onion, peeled and halved
- 2 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
- 1 jalapeño—stemmed, seeded and roughly chopped
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- One 28-ounce can whole San Marzano tomatoes, crushed by hand
- Kosher salt, to taste
- 4 eggs
- Cilantro leaves, for garnish
- Pita, for serving
1. Preheat the oven to broil. Halve 1 of the plum tomatoes and place on a baking sheet. Toss with 1 tablespoon of the olive oil and the onion. Roast, turning as needed, until lightly charred, 7 minutes for the tomato and 12 minutes for the onion.
2. Roughly chop the remaining plum tomato. In a 12-inch cast-iron skillet, heat the remaining ¼ cup of olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the garlic, jalapeño, cinnamon stick and cumin, and cook until fragrant, 1 to 2 minutes. Add the roasted vegetables, the chopped plum tomato and the canned tomatoes, and bring to a simmer. Cook until the tomatoes have broken down and the sauce has thickened, 20 to 25 minutes. Season with salt.
3. Make 4 wells in the sauce and crack 1 egg into each. Season each egg with salt, then cover the pan and continue to simmer until the eggs are just set but still have runny yolks, 3 to 4 minutes.
4. Garnish with cilantro leaves and serve with pita.
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