The first time I had shakshouka was in a Spanish restaurant in Amsterdam. This is odd, partly because it’s a dish of middle-eastern origin, but mostly because I managed to go my whole life up until that point having not had shakshouka. Shakshouka has everything I love - tomatoes, eggs, sauce and a funny name - so it made no sense why I never had it before.
And I loved it. The runny egg yolks, the burnt toast smashing into and sopping up the spicy sauce - all of it amazing. I didn’t think I could possibly recreate it until I saw this video by Food Wishes. I didn’t have all the ingredients Chef John uses in his recipe (and I think his looks infinitely more amazing), but I gave it a shot with what I had on hand. It turned out suspiciously similar to my soft-focus, idealized memory of the one I had in Amsterdam, which is definitely saying a lot!
For this recipe you can double the sauce ingredients and add up to 4 eggs if you plan on sharing, but here’s how I made one all for myself. Because I am clearly greedy.
You will need:
- 2 tbsp olive oil, plus more for drizzling
- ½ tbsp butter
- 1 shallot, diced
- ½ cup sliced mushrooms
- 1 tomato, chopped
- 1 green chili, minced
- ½ cup tomato puree
- 1/16 tsp ground cumin (1 generous pinch)
- salt & pepper to taste
- 1 egg
Heat the oil and butter in a small skillet over medium heat. Add the shallots and mushrooms and cook, stirring frequently, until the shallots soften and begin to get a hint of color.
Add the chopped tomato, green chili, tomato puree and cumin. Reduce the heat to low and let simmer gently for 5-10 minutes. If needed, add water to make sure the sauce stays saucy. Then taste for seasoning and add salt as necessary.
Make a small dip in the sauce and break the egg into it. Cover and let cook to your desired level of doneness. (For a runny yolk, it should take around 3-4 minutes.)
To serve, drizzle with olive oil, crack some pepper on top and sop up with thick slices of toasted bread.