If you live in a college town
(This post may contain affiliate links)
no matter the date on the calendar, nor the reading on the thermometer
Summer begins as finals week comes to a close and the last of the u-hauls head out-of-town. Overnight, the population is reduced by half, with those left behind settling in and spreading out a bit, if only in our minds
Such was the backdrop this week as the weather turned warmer. The space heater in my office swapped for a fan; our farmers market saw it's opening day, and people took to their bikes to get around town
“What's for dinner?” brought vibrant summery foods to mind. One I'm looking forward to, in particular, a fresh out-of-the-garden tomato.
I couldn't help but think of Shakshuka
Versions of this North African dish are plentiful. The most popular involves softly cracked eggs cooked in a hot skillet of spiced tomato sauce, ready to be sopped up by hunks of crusty bread. If one is a traditionalist, the eggs will be just set but not quite solid. Their yokes still wiggling and ready to flow with the merest suggest of contact with a fork
I've learned the sauce is best if made in advance. Its flavors improve dramatically with time. A bag or two stashed away in the freezer is never a bad thing. A cheap, quick, and flavorful meal that's ready in less than 15 minutes
A few notes about the sauce, there are many ways you could take it. Lots of recipes add sautéed or blended veggies to round to the flavors or use up what's in the fridge, although here, I'm in tomato purist
My husband loves heat, and we're both suckers for interesting blends that bring a depth of flavor. So we've taken to a variety that includes harissa
Keep in mind, as you head into this recipe that the range of harasses available for purchase is vast. Trust your taste buds. One tube might be tastelessly tomato-y, the next tongue-scorchingly hot.
That said, the road to great harissa is to make your own, and I've included our recipe here. I'd be lying if I said I'm religious about it. Hence, a walk to our ethnic grocery every now and again.
~ Adapted from The Guardian
- 2 Tbsp olive oil
- 2 Tbsp harissa
- 2 tsp tomato paste
- 2 large red peppers, cut into ¼" pieces
- 4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- 5 large tomatoes, chopped
- 4 large eggs
- 4 large egg yolks
- ½ cup labneh (or Greek yogurt)
- salt and pepper, to taste
- 1 Tbsp sesame oil, for drizzling over the top just before serving
- Heat olive oil in a large pan over medium heat. Add the harissa, tomato paste peppers, garlic, cumin, and ¾tsp salt
- Stir and cook over medium heat for 8-10 minutes, allowing the peppers to soften
- Add the tomatoes, bring to a gentle simmer, and cook for a further 10 minutes until you have quite a thick sauce. Taste for seasoning.
- Make 8 little dips in the sauce. Gently break the eggs and carefully pour each into its own dip. Do the same with the yolks.
- Use a fork to swirl the egg whites a little bit with the sauce, taking care not to break the yolks.
- Simmer gently for 8-10 minutes, until the egg whites are set, but the yolks are still runny (you can cover the pan with a lid if you'd like to hasten the process)
- Remove from the heat, leave for a couple of minutes to settle, drizzle with sesame oil, then spoon into individual plates & serve with labneh (or yogurt)
~ Adapted from the LA Times
- 4 oz dried chiles (equal amounts of New Mexico, guajillo and chipotle chiles)
- 5 cloves garlic, peeled
- 1 ½ tsp kosher salt
- 1 ½ tsp caraway seeds, freshly ground
- 1 ½ tsp coriander seeds, freshly ground
- 2 Tbsp olive oil + extra for when storing
- Place the chiles in a large bowl and cover with boiling water, letting them rest until softened, about 30 minutes.
- Drain, then remove the seeds and stems from the chiles. (Don't forget to wear latex or rubber gloves)
- Place the seeded and stemmed chiles, along with the garlic, into your food processor and pulse a few times.
- Add the salt, caraway, and coriander.
- Process until smooth, pouring the olive oil into the feeding tube on top as you blend. (** Add a little water if necessary to achieve the right consistency .. which should be that of a thick paste)
- To store, top off with a thin layer of olive oil and refrigerate.