Basil Shakshuka

Shakshuka or a version of this dish has been a part of my diet for quite some time. Nothing beats eggs on a late Sunday morning (admit it, you actually mean 'afternoon') and nothing really can beat eggs cooked in a hot aromatic vegetable sauce... with fresh basil... and cheese. 

If you're not yet familiar with shakshuka, here's a couple of facts: shakshuka is a Middle Eastern dish of eggs cooked in a vegetable sauce, which normally consists of tomatoes, onions & chilli or sweet peppers. Cumin is often used for flavour & aroma and bread is served alongside to scrape out any leftover sauce (but hey, let's forget bread this time). Shakshuka can be started on the stovetop and then finished off in the oven or cooked on the stovetop from start to finish. Latter, obviously, requires less effort. I actually prefer it cooked on the stovetop as that way it's easier to make sure that yolks stay runny. I can't stand overcooked eggs in a shakshuka, it's like missing out on something that could have been so great yet got ruined. Because eggs can easily turn dry in the oven, I choose to stick to the stovetop.

It's also quite popular to add different types of vegetables (like carrots and zucchini) to make the base for the sauce, but I still like it best made from tomatoes only. On the other hand, a couple of sweet pepper slices (to my liking - well cooked) can be a good addition, too so do try to add some if you're a pepper fan. Fresh basil is my newest discovery for this egg dish. Two-three leaves are simply not enough so I add a big bunch of this aromatic herb. To sum things up, my shakshuka basically went from Middle Eastern to Italian. Oh well, who gives a damn.


makes one 2-egg shakshuka   |   Cooking time: 10 mins


Ingredients:

  • 2 eggs
  • 8 tablespoons of pure tomato passata (tomatoes only)
  • 2 teaspoons of olive oil
  • a couple of shallot slices
  • chilli flakes & salt
  • dried oregano
  • a bunch of fresh basil
  • parmesan flakes
  • black pepper

Heat olive oil in a 20cm diameter frying pan (use bigger if making 4 or 6-egg shakshuka), pour in the tomato passata, sprinkle with chilli flakes and some salt, add thinly sliced shallot rings. Crack in two eggs without braking the yolks. Cook on medium-low heat for a couple of minutes until eggs start to set. Cover the pan and let the egg whites finish cooking for another minute or two. Keep an eye on your shakshuka – once the egg whites are just set, but yolks still runny – it is done. Remove from heat, add a generous bunch of fresh basil leaves, top with grated or flaked parmesan. A touch of black pepper and you’re all set.