This morning I returned from a run in the falling snow to an email from Mr. KitchenOperas, sharing Ottolenghi’s brunch recipes from yesterday’s Guardian. The “Aubergine, potato, tomato” recipe got me thinking about a skillet breakfast of poached eggs with lots of veggies. And because we didn’t have any eggplant around (and I’m not going back out in that snow!), I was thinking about eggs poached in tomato sauce.
Last fall, Mr KitchenOperas and I had an amazing brunch at a local Italian restaurant — Prop (at 770 St. Clair Avenue West, Toronto). I had a delightful frittata with greens, while I envied his poached eggs in tomato sauce. Ever since then, I’ve been craving my own tomatoey eggs.
So this morning, it had to happen.
Instead of making an Italian-flavoured version, I decided to go Middle Eastern with my spicing. There is a traditional dish: Shakshuka made with eggs poached in a spicy tomato sauce (according to wikipedia it’s a common staple of Tunisia, Libya, Algeria, Morocco, Egypt, and Israel). Inspired by a variety of recipes (like David Lebovitz’s or Ottolenghi’s in the wonderful Jerusalem cookbook), I came up with my own version — spicing the tomato sauce with cumin, sumac, sweet paprika, and cinnamon.
Then cracking the eggs into the simmering sauce:
And letting the eggs poach away in the spicy tomato sauce:
And leaving them to poach until the eggs were set, with firm whites and runny yolks:
The dish is supposed to be spicy. I was in the mood for a spiced but not spicy hot dish today, so I used the Rose Harissa Paste from Belazu — it’s made with rose petals, chili, garlic, and spices. It’s not HOT HOT, and I love the round and exotic flavour it brings to my Middle Eastern-inspired dishes. But feel free to use any harissa or hot sauce in this recipe to adjust the heat levels to your own preference. You could also finely chopped chiles to add heat here (I’d throw them in with the bell peppers).
I ended up with some leftover spiced tomato sauce this time, so I’ve popped it in the fridge. I’m planning on using it for a quick individual Shakshuka — I’ll put it into a ramekin, make a divet for the egg, crack in the egg, and bake at 350F until the egg white is set. It’ll make a perfect breakfast-for-dinner treat!
Mr. KitchenOperas got his complete with rye bread and Smoked Paprika Hash Browns:
I had mine with a gluten-free Challah and the hash browns. Next time, I’ll make a gluten-free pita so I can dip up all the spicy tomato sauce.
Shakshuka (Eggs Poached in a Spiced Tomato Sauce)
This is my perfect version of a winter breakfast: served in a skillet for everyone to share, full of warming spices, and studded with eggs whose runny yolks leak into the spiced tomato sauce. Shakshuka is also a perfect excuse to have “breakfast for dinner”.
- 1 Tablespoon butter
- 1 Tablespoon olive oil
- 4 shallots, sliced
- 2 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
- 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
- 2 bell peppers, chopped
- 1/2 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon sumac
- 1 teaspoon sweet paprika
- 2 Tablespoons harissa (or Sriracha or other hot sauce to taste)
- 1 (28 oz/793g) can diced tomatoes, including liquid
- 4-6 eggs
- cracked black pepper, to taste
In a large skillet over low heat, melt together the butter and olive oil. Add the shallots, garlic, and salt, and sweat over low heat until the shallots are translucent. Add the bell peppers and cherry tomatoes, and bring the heat up to medium.
While the vegetables are cooking, toast the spices (cinnamon, cumin, sumac and paprika) in a small skillet over medium heat. This will bring out their flavours to the fullest.
Add the toasted spices, harissa (or hot sauce), and the can of tomatoes (liquid and all!) to the vegetable skillet. Bring the heat up to medium-high and let the skillet simmer away until you have the consistency of thick & chunky tomato sauce.
Create a well in the tomato sauce for each egg. Crack each egg into its well, and then let cook until the whites are fully set. Crack black pepper over the top and serve hot.
In other gluten-free news: Registration for my online Gluten-Free (and Vegan!) Bread Baking Class is now open for a limited time! Once you sign up, you get permanent access to the online video course.
The class features 4 gluten-free breads:
1) Chickpea Chapati (great for curries)
2) Multigrain Pita Bread (perfect for hummus and spreads)
3) Brown Rice & Buckwheat Sandwich Loaf (awesome for sandwiches)
4) Artisanal Quinoa & Millet Crusty Boule (great for dinner parties)
There are also dips and tips for working with gluten-free grains, as well as a whole lot of giggles.