Shakshouka and baguette Shakshouka and baguette Shakshouka makes for a great meal any time of the day. (Photo: StateofIsrael / Flickr)

Rustic cast iron skillet shakshouka

This hot tomato and egg dish is easy to make and delicious to eat.

Dreaming of whipping up an exotic dish that will leave your guests fawning over your cooking skills, but that is also surprisingly simple to make? Try shakshouka, a tomato-based sauce with poached eggs simmering on top. This Mediterranean dish with North African roots is Israel’s staple food for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

While a great shakshouka almost always includes fresh tomatoes, onion, garlic and eggs, there are endless variations. Enjoy your share of spicy food? Add some fresh chilies. Want to add more veggies? Fry sweet red peppers with the onions. Prefer meat with dinner? Merguez sausages will lift your shakshouka to a whole other level. Get started with the basic recipe below, and then experiment away!

Classic shakshouka – ingredients for 4 servings

¼ cup canola oil

1 medium-sized onion, chopped

5 garlic cloves, minced

8-10 fresh ripe tomatoes

1 tablespoon sweet paprika

1 teaspoon salt

6-8 fresh eggs

Required equipment

Cast iron skillet

Shakshuka dippingDipping is encouraged when eating shakshouka. (Photo: a_b_normal123/Flickr)

Directions

1. Cut the tomatoes into quarters.

2. Place the cast iron skillet on the stove at medium heat and add the oil. Just before the oil starts to smoke, add the onions. Then lower the heat and simmer for 5 minutes. If you’d like some variety and spice, add some chopped sweet red peppers or chili peppers.

3. Add the tomatoes and garlic, and cook for about 30 minutes on low heat until the vegetables soften. This will ensure all the flavors blend together and the right texture evolves.

4. Once the ingredients have blended into a thick sauce, add the paprika. As soon as the paprika hits the pan, the sauce gets that deep red color shakshouka is known for. Add salt and simmer for 5 minutes.

5. Break the eggs and add them to the skillet. (Note: To ensure the eggs cook evenly, take them out of the fridge about an hour before cooking. A cold egg's yolk will cook faster than the egg white.) After adding the eggs, cover the skillet and cook until the eggs are just how you like them. You can choose to have your eggs runny or completely cooked.

6. If you want your shakshouka to look like a chef-made dish, finish it with sprinkled chopped parsley or coriander. Serve with fresh bread and tahini.

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