In the past decade, we’ve seen shakshuka crash onto brunch menus and Instagram feeds and Trader Joe’s starter kits the world over. It’s shape-shifted into pizzas and pastas and collided, to eye-popping effect, with the avocado toast trend.
But if we take a pause and return to its North African then Middle Eastern roots, we’ll also find a rich world of shakshuka to jostle our imagination, without even pouring it into a bread bowl. “There are so many versions of shakshuka, all variations on the same theme of eggs cooked in a nice thick sauce,” Sami Tamimi and Tara Wigley write in their beautiful new cookbook Falastin, which they published in June of this year after a decade of working, together and apart, on various projects in the Ottolenghi family.
In Falastin, there are two shakshukas—and there were almost three. Along with the easygoing recipe I’m sharing here, the second version in Falastin is green, with braised eggs nestled in herbs and Swiss chard. The almost-third was yellow, with sunny bell peppers and green tomatoes that Sami and Tara decided weren’t accessible enough for the book (but are yet one more colorful direction to take shakshuka when you can).
The laidback style that Sami grew up eating for breakfast in Palestine looked little like the one more widely known today. His eggs weren’t peeking up at him sunny-side, but scrambled into sauce-drunk ribbons. In this way, it has much in common with Turkish menemen and Yemeni shakshuka, both of which are simply scrambled, too.
As with most of the recipes in Falastin, once the scrambled shakshuka of Sami’s childhood landed in the Ottolenghi Test Kitchen, it got some modern updates: crushed whole, toasted spices rather than ground, a marinated feta topping with bursts of coriander and chile.
“We’d rather shine a new light on an old classic than recreate it verbatim. Doing this—‘playing around’—is a risk, we know,” Sami and Tara write, “because loyalty is not, of course, just about the dish. It’s about tradition and identity and being able to own these things through food.” As they show in Falastin, there are plenty of ways to do so with a keen eye to the Palestinian pantry and the stories and recipes of its people. No need for bread bowls.
Scrambling shakshuka—beyond being lush and comforting, the eggs now freer to soak up the surrounding sauce—is a boon to new cooks, perfectionists, and the yolk-phobic alike. There’s no wondering if your whites are firm and your yolks as gooey as you like. Scrambled eggs practically shout when they’re done and, when slow-cooking in a sauce this good, are incredibly resilient. They even stand up to reheating—so feel free to make too much.
Scrambled Red Shakshuka From Sami Tamimi & Tara Wigley
Serves 2, generously
• 1 1/2 ounces (45 grams) feta, roughly crumbled
• 1/4 cup (5 grams) parsley leaves, roughly chopped
• 3/4 teaspoon Aleppo chile flakes (or 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes)
• 5 tablespoons (75 milliliters) olive oil
• 1 1/2 teaspoons coriander seeds, lightly toasted and roughly crushed in a mortar and pestle
• 1 yellow or white onion, thinly sliced (1 2/3 cups / 150 grams)
• 1 red bell pepper, seeded and cut into long slices, 1/2-inch / 1 centimeter thick (5 ounces / 140 grams)
• 3 garlic cloves, crushed in a garlic press or minced
• 1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds, lightly toasted and roughly crushed in a mortar and pestle
• 1 teaspoon tomato paste
• 1/4 teaspoon paprika
• 5 or 6 tomatoes, roughly chopped (18 ounces / 500 grams)
• 2 1/2 ounces (75 grams) cherry tomatoes
• 2 teaspoons red shatta (see recipe below) or rose harissa
• 1/3 cup (80 milliliters) water
Salt and black pepper
• 4 eggs, lightly beaten
• 9 ounces (250 grams) red or green chiles (with seeds), stems trimmed, very thinly sliced
• 1 tablespoon salt
• 3 tablespoons cider vinegar
• 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
• Extra-virgin olive oil, to cover
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