We need to talk shakshuka — now, more than ever, it’s having a moment. I peg it on the popularity of Yottam Ottolenghi’s Jerusalem Cookbook that this bell pepper baked egg dish has become so prevalent. I was first introduced to it by my Tunisian neighbors when I lived in Paris and have made some variation on it since. Like so many dishes in the Middle East (hummus, tabbouleh, etc), these are dishes that come from everywhere yet nowhere at once and this one is no exception. But, no matter where it originally comes from, what I can tell you is it’s delicious.
quartered and thinly sliced
Heat oil in a medium frying pan over medium heat. When it shimmers, add onions and bell peppers cook until onions are softened and bell peppers begin to char, about 5 minutes.
Stir in harissa paste, tomato paste, and garlic, and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add peppers and stir to coat. Add tomatoes and salt and sugar and bring to a simmer. Reduce heat to low and cook, stirring occasionally, until flavors are melded, about 10 to 15 minutes. Taste and add more salt and sugar as desired. The sauce should be the consistency of tomato sauce -- if it gets too thick, add a bit of water to thin it out.
The amount of harissa you use will depend on which harissa you use as they vary in spiciness. I tested this recipe using homemade harissa and with Mina Harissa and 1 to 3 tablespoons was a medium spice level.
Stir in half of the parsley, create little wells in the sauce for each egg then break one eggs into each well. Cover and continue to cook for about 7 to 10 minutes, until the eggs are set. Sprinkle remaining parsley, season with freshly ground black pepper and serve immediately with bread.
You can also finish the eggs in a 450°F oven but watch them carefully so that they don't overcook.
Photography and food styling by Aida Mollenkamp