Shakshuka is originally a Tunisian dish but has become hugely popular in Jerusalem and all over Israel as substantial breakfast or lunch fare. Tunisian cuisine has a passionate love affair with eggs and this particular version of shakshuka is the seasonal variant for the summer and early autumn. Potatoes are used during the winter and aubergines in spring.
The recipe is taken from Jerusalem, published by Ebury Press.
2 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp Pilpelchuma or harissa paste
2 tsp tomato purée
2 large red peppers, cut into 0.5cm dice (300g in total)
4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 tsp ground cumin
5 large, very ripe tomatoes, chopped (800g in total); tinned are also fine
4 medium free-range eggs plus 4 egg yolks
120g Labneh (see recipe page 302) or shop-bought, or thick yoghurt
1. Heat the olive oil in a large frying pan over a medium heat and add the pilpelchuma or harissa, tomato purée, peppers, garlic, cumin and ¾ of a teaspoon of salt. Stir and cook on a moderate heat for about 8 minutes to allow the peppers to soften. Add the tomatoes, bring to a gentle simmer and cook for a further 10 minutes until you have quite a thick sauce. Taste for seasoning.
2. Make eight little dips in the sauce. Gently break the eggs and carefully pour each into its own dip. Do the same with the yolks. Use a fork to swirl the egg whites a little bit with the sauce, taking care not to break the yolks. Simmer gently for 8–10 minutes, until the egg whites are set but the yolks are still runny (you can cover the pan with a lid if you wish to hasten the process). Remove from the heat, leave for a couple of minutes to settle, then spoon into individual plates and serve with the labneh or yoghurt.