Shakshuka is an easy, creative dish with such an incredible depth of flavour it’s hard to believe this is a dish that is essentially a can of tomatoes with eggs. Traditionally, it’s an Israeli/Tunisian breakfast dish with the eggs are baked in, but sometimes you have fussy eaters, i.e. one prefers the richness of runny, verging-on-raw yolks mixed in with the sauce while the other prefers their eggs very, very well-cooked with no chance of salmonella thanks, so it can be somewhat easier to cook the eggs separately. The result? A dish way too easy and delicious to save for weekend brunches alone. Bring on the brinner.
½ tsp cumin seeds
1 tBsp coconut oil
2 large onions, peeled and sliced
4 red peppers, cored and cut into 2cm strips
2 bay leaves
6 sprigs thyme, picked and chopped
2 tbsp flat-leaf parsley, chopped
1 bunch fresh coriander, chopped
1 x 400g canned tomatoes
½ tsp saffron strands
Pinch of cayenne pepper
4 free-range eggs
Salt and pepper
In a large saucepan, dry-roast the cumin on high heat for two minutes. Add the oil and sauté the onions for two minutes. Add the peppers, bay leaves, thyme, parsley and two tablespoons of coriander, and cook until the peppers and onions have started to gently caramelise. Add the tomatoes, saffron, cayenne, salt and pepper. Cook on low heat for 15 minutes, adding water if needed to keep it the consistency of a pasta sauce. Taste and adjust the seasoning. It should be potent and flavoursome.
Place the saucepan to the side. Cook the eggs however you like them - poached, fried, whatever. To serve, place a generous amount of sauce on a curved plate, with eggs on top. Drizzle with balsamic vinegar and a dash of olive oil - although sesame can also provide an unexpectedly delicious twist - and sprinkle with coriander and some freshly cracked black pepper.
Adapted from Yotam Ottolenghi.