Week 3 - Shakshouka - My Paris Kitchen

Week 3 of #fridaycookbookproject has been the most demanding on my side so far. I was really busy with some business assignments which I love doing but I really wanted to keep up with my challenge either way. So I decided to take this gorgeous book, My Paris Kitchen by David Lebovitz (which was the winner of this week’s vote in my stories) and let my husband decide which recipe I should make this time. And it didn’t come to me as a big surprise that he selected Shakshouka, given our history of living in Northern Africa over 10 years ago. Some of you guessed it correctly based on the ingredients shot I shared on Thursday, congratulations! But some of you weren’t convinced that it’s something to be found in a book of Parisian recipes.

But you know what? I am actually really happy to see that this one and other Middle Eastern, African and other recipes made it to David’s book because that reflects really well the beautiful melting pot of cultures that Paris, as a true European metropolis, has become. So, without further delay, let’s jump into this bubbling savory delicacy that most of you may already know but perhaps never made it at home. It’s actually really quick and simple, which worked well with my schedule of the last few days and I hope it works for you, too and you’ll let me know how you liked it. Don’t forget to tag me if you cook Shakshouka and if you also decide to shoot it, add our #Fridaycookbookproject hashtag to your post so we can all enjoy the image of your beautiful dish based on my interpretation of David’s recipe. It makes 2-4 portions, depending on how hungry you are and how much bread you want to eat it with.

On medium-high heat, place 2 tbsp olive oil in a large skillet or well seasoned cast iron dish. When it’s hot, add 1 chopped large onion and 3 sliced cloves of garlic. Cook them for about 8 minutes uncovered, until they become translucent. Then add 1.5 tsp salt, 1 tsp freshly ground black pepper, 1 tsp smoked or sweet paprika, 1 tsp crushed caraway seed and 0.5 tsp turmeric. [The original recipe also calls for 1 tsp crushed cumin but I skipped that as that’s one of the very few flavors I am not a big fan of. So up to you.] Let the spices cook with the onions and garlic for about a minute, watching out so they don’t get burnt and become bitter.

Once they release their pleasant aroma, add 28 oz can of organic peeled tomatoes [you can work with about the same amount of peeled or even unpeeled fresh tomatoes but I don’t really trust those in the winter. If you do, it may also take a bit longer to cook.] Add 2 tbsp tomato puree [I usually divide the can into 2 tbsp portions and freeze those individually so they are always ready to use since most recipes don’t ask for more than that], 2 tsp honey and 1 tsp red wine vinegar and if you like it hot, add some deseeded, finely chopped chili pepper to taste.

Cook altogether on medium heat for about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Once this sauce becomes thicker but not too dry, stir in about 1 cup of coarsely chopped greens (I used radish greens and baby spinach plus a bit of flat leaf parsley) and turn the heat off. Spread around and gently push in bite sized cubes made of 4-5 oz feta cheese. Decide how many eggs you want to use (recommended 4-6, so I used 5) and using the back of a spoon, create that many indentations in the sauce.

Gently crack each egg and let it carefully slip into its well. Then use the end of a spoon to drag through the egg white without disturbing the yolk in order to combine a part of each egg white with the sauce around it. Turn the heat back on and this time just low enough to bring the dish back to a gentle simmer. Let it go uncovered for about 10 minutes and then cover with a lid and finish it. Once the egg whites are white, they should be fully cooked. The egg yolks should remain runny but again, up to your preference. It took me about 3 minutes once I covered my skillet and I used a loose, non-matching lid from another pot so I could see what the egg whites were doing. 

And you’re done. It’s a really pretty dish, so impress your guests and serve it straight from the skillet in the middle of the table, decorated with sliced chili pepper, leftover chopped up greenscherry tomatoes and feta crumbles, accompanied by some fresh, crusty French baguette (what do you say, should baking that be one of our weekly challenges? Let me know!) That way everyone can have as much as they want and you can clean the skillet with remaining bread. Sound good? I would say! I already enjoyed mine so now it’s your turn! 

Have fun and let me know how it was!

Have a great weekend and see you next Friday!

*Recipe is based on My Paris Kitchen by David Lebovitz.

Text and photographs © Andrea Gralow 2020. All rights reserved.

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