Monday, January 25, 2010


Whoa, that's a mouthful! I first discovered this Middle Eastern breakfast staple at the inimitable Sofra Bakery and Cafe in Watertown, MA. I worship the chef Ana Sortun and this wonderful dish only adds to her allure. The recipe came by way of Libya and consists of tomatoes, onions, garlic and spices in which whole eggs are poached until just cooked. This version is inspired by the recipe I found on Saveur , though I have amended it to more closely resemble the version at Sofra by pureeing the vegetables before poaching the eggs.

I love to eat this for dinner, though obviously it is delicious for any meal of the day. I add a little Sriracha for some heat, but you can also try fresh or pickled jalapenos or a dash of cayenne. If you want to include some more vegetables, add some diced green bell pepper after you have browned the onions. This dish is quite dramatic served in a skillet at the table with some warm pita bread. (TIP: if you freeze fresh pita and then toss it back into the microwave for 30 seconds you can really stretch its longevity.) If you aren't cooking for anyone but yourself, you can also freeze half of the tomato mixture and use it another time.

My mother brings me amazing multicolored eggs from The Berkshires. If you can find a source for local eggs, buy them! Trust me, you can taste the difference.

after Saveur

Staples: olive oil, salt and pepper
Special equipment: a frying pan, skillet, or small pan that can be put in the oven
  • 1 small-medium yellow onion roughly chopped
  • 6 garlic cloves, peeled and whacked a couple of times to squish
  • 1 t cumin
  • 1 T paprika
  • 1 can diced fire roasted tomatoes
  • fresh local eggs
In a large skillet (cast iron is amazing, if you have one), saute the onions in 3-4 T olive oil over med-high heat until soft. Add the garlic and continue sauteing until fragrant. Add the cumin and paprika and keep stirring for another minute. Add the tomatoes with all their juice. At this point, you can also add your spice of choice if you want some heat. Reduce heat so that the mixture simmers gently until it has thickened (about 15-20 minutes). Remove from heat and let cool slightly. Scoop everything into a blender and puree until smooth. Season with salt and pepper.

Return puree to the skillet and over medium heat bring the it back to a simmer. Turn on the oven broiler. Make as many small wells in the bubbling sauce as eggs you plan to use. Make sure to space them so that the eggs do not run together, though it isn't the end of the world if they do. Gently crack eggs into wells. Simmer until eggs begin to set. You will see the whites start to thicken after about 4-5 minutes. Place skillet under the broiler for 1-2 minutes or until desired doneness is reached. Spoon the eggs with sauce into small bowls and serve with warm pita.


  1. YUMMM. I was wondering what I'd be making for dinner. Although I may leave out a few cloves of garlic to spare Dr. D's digestion.

  2. Looks super yummy Rachel! So excited about this new blog :)

  3. Great post! Shakshuka's been a weekly staple of mine for about a year now. This dish is endemic to the entire middle east and the mediterranean--the version from Yemen, with good Yemeni bread, is especially tasty. The Cypriot version is good too--heavy on the cumin and cinnamon.