Shukashaka.

Sometimes I have issues with brevity. Granted it’s usually due to the fact that there is way too much I want to write about. I refuse to simply log on and type up a recipe without some kind of literary amuse-bouche to whet your appetite. But there is a downside to all that—a backlog of recipes and photos that are eating up my hard drive because I can’t face my fears of being pithy and to the point. So for this post, I decided to challenge myself, just for fun, to see if I could introduce a recipe in 3 sentences or less. Here goes nothing:

Shukashaka may be fun to say, but it’s not the right name of this traditional Israeli dish. It’s actually called Shakshuka, but who cares about the name? Just take a bite and you’ll be in bliss.

Um. Last I checked, this was not an exercise in poetry. Apparently brevity, in my head, is synonymous with cheesy rhymes. Let’s try this again:

Call it Shukashaka, call it what you will.

Woah. What am I writing lyrics now? When I finish my ode to Shakshuka, I’ll be sure to be in touch. For now, I need brief. One more try:

Whether you call it Shakshuka or Shukashaka, just for fun, this traditional Israeli dish is as fun to say as it is to eat.

Phew. I made it! And in one sentence, no less. Much better. Now that I’ve more than proven my point on my inability to be brief, let’s eat.

Shakshuka, Shukashaka (or simply, eggs poached in spicy tomato sauce)
Adapted from Saveur and smittenkitchen.com

Serves 4 to 6

1/4 cup olive oil
5 Anaheim chiles or 3 jalapeños, stemmed, seeded, and finely chopped
1 small yellow onion, chopped
5 cloves garlic, crushed then sliced
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 tablespoon paprika
1 28-ounce can whole peeled tomatoes, undrained
Kosher salt, to taste
6 eggs
1/2 cup feta cheese, crumbled
1 tablespoon chopped flat-leaf parsley
Warm pitas or crusty bread, for serving (or serve over rice to make it a little different)

Directions:

Heat oil in a 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat. Add chiles and onions and cook, stirring occasionally, until soft and golden brown, about 6 minutes. Add garlic, cumin, and paprika, and cook, stirring frequently, until garlic is soft, about 2 more minutes.

Add tomatoes and their liquid to skillet, crushing the tomatoes with your hands before placing them in the pot. Add 1/2 cup water to the empty can and swirl around to pick up any leftover liquid, add this to skillet, reduce heat to medium, and simmer, stirring occasionally, until thickened slightly, about 15 minutes. Season with salt, to taste.

Gently crack eggs over sauce so that eggs are evenly distributed across the surface. Cover skillet and cook until yolks are just set, about 5 minutes. Using a spoon, baste the whites of the eggs with tomato mixture. Be careful not to disturb the yolk. Sprinkle shakshuka with feta and parsley and serve with pitas, or crusty bread for dipping (or serve over rice).

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