Shakshuka—a dream dish of eggs baked in a zesty tomato sauce with feta cheese—probably originated in Tunisia, though today it’s often assumed to be Israeli (in the 1950s, it’s believed, Tunisian and Mahgreb Jews brought it with them to Israel). In our version, the tomato sauce contains melted onion and fresh green Anaheim chiles (plenty of chile flavor with a minimum of burn). Crumbled feta is added, and the eggs bake directly in the sauce. For serving: zhug, a Yemeni pesto-like condiment of cilantro, parsley, garlic, and za’atar, a Middle Eastern spice mixture you can buy or make. Serve shakshuka with plenty of bread for sopping: warmed pita or crusty sliced levain.
- Yields: 6 servings
- Difficulty: Easy
- Total: 1 hr
- Active: 30 mins
For the zhug:
- 1/2 bunch fresh cilantro, leaves and smaller stems
- 1/2 bunch fresh flat-leaf parsley, leaves and smaller stems
- 1/4 cup water
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 medium cloves garlic
- 1/2 teaspoon za’atar
- Pinch red pepper flakes
- Kosher salt, to taste
For the shakshuka:
- 4 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 small yellow onion, chopped
- 5 medium Anaheim chiles, small dice
- 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more as needed
- 5 medium cloves garlic, minced
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 tablespoon paprika
- 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1 (28-ounce) can whole peeled tomatoes with their juices, crushed by hand
- 1/2 cup water
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese
- 1 tablespoon chopped flat-leaf parsley
- 6 large eggs
To make the zhug:
- Combine all the zhug ingredients in a food processor fitted with the metal blade. Process to form a smooth, pesto-like sauce. Taste, seasoning with additional salt and red pepper flakes to taste. Set aside.
To make the shakshuka:
- Heat the oven to 375°F and arrange a rack in the middle.
- Heat 4 tablespoons olive oil in a large skillet over medium-low heat. Add the onion, diced Anaheim chiles, and measured salt. Sweat gently until the onion and chiles are very soft, about 20 minutes. Add the minced garlic to the pan; cook until fragrant, 1 to 2 minutes. Stir in the cumin, paprika, and cayenne and cook 1 minute.
- Add the crushed tomatoes with their juices to the skillet, along with 1/2 cup water. Simmer, stirring occasionally, until the sauce is slightly thickened, about 15 minutes. Add the black pepper. Stir in the crumbled feta and 1 tablespoon chopped parsley. Taste, seasoning with additional salt and black pepper as needed.
- Crack an egg and carefully add it to the sauce, making sure not to rupture the yolk (if you do, don;t sweat it). Continue with the remaining eggs, arranging them evenly in the skillet. Sprinkle each egg with a little salt and pepper. Transfer the skillet to oven and bake until the eggs are just set, the yolks still runny, 7 to 10 minutes.
- Serve the shakshuka immediately from the skillet, drizzled with zhug. Serve the rest of the zhug in a bowl for guests to help themselves.