|Glamorosi Recipes: Shakshuka with Spinach and Mushrooms|
When I was a kid, my Aunt Lily and I would spend entire days making tomato sauce, and one of my favorite treats was a bowl of it sopped up with a hunk of fresh baked bread. As I got older and expanded my culinary horizons, I learned of a Middle Eastern dish called shakshuka, also a tomato sauce eaten with bread, but different than our Italian version due to the spices used – cumin and paprika – and the fact that it's topped with poached eggs. These days, shakshuka is in regular rotation in our home and I add spinach (or kale or arugula) and mushrooms. It's a hearty meal that works for breakfast, lunch or dinner. Preparation: 1 hour (10 minutes prep, 50 minutes cooking time); yield: 4-6 servings.
I prefer fresh tomatoes in my shakshuka, but when canned is the only option I use organic whole peeled tomatoes and break them up myself. I use smoked paprika because I love the flavor and I put it in everything, but sweet paprika is fine too. I use whatever mushrooms are on hand, and I usually serve it with crusty Italian bread, sourdough or pita. I have also paired it with rice, and it was wonderful.
In addition to the ingredients I have listed, you can use hot peppers and/or hot pepper flakes – I don't because I can't eat a lot of spicy/hot food, but I do add a "teeny-tiny" pinch of cayenne for just a hint of heat. Fresh parsley is a lovely addition. Tofu is a good substitute if you don't eat eggs. I've been craving eggplant; I'm going to put some in this week's shakshuka. Also, some people make their shakshuka with cheese (feta and goat cheese are popular choices); I like it served with fried haloumi as a side dish; the crispy cheese pieces dip well.
3 lbs fresh tomatoes peeled and diced or one 28 oz can of tomatoes
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 large onion, chopped
1 pepper, chopped (I like red, yellow or orange)
5 cloves of garlic, sliced
2 cups fresh spinach, chopped
8 oz mushrooms, sliced
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1-2 teaspoons of smoked paprika (or sweet, if you prefer)
1 teeny-tiny pinch of cayenne pepper
2 tablespoons olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
1. Warm 1-2 tablespoons of olive oil in a skillet, then sauté mushrooms for around 10 minutes. Once the mushrooms are tender, remove from the pan and set aside (you'll be adding them back in at step 3), but use a slotted spoon so you leave the oil and mushroom liquid in the pan.
2. Add chopped onions and garlic to the pan, sauté for around 5 minutes, then add pepper and sauté for another 5 minutes.
3. Stir in spices, sautéed mushrooms, tomato paste and tomatoes. If you're using canned tomatoes, break them up by hand as you're putting them in the skillet, and add all of the tomato liquid too. If you're using fresh tomatoes you might need to add a little water; 1/2 cup should do. Simmer on low (or medium low, depending on your range) for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. You want the temperature to get hot enough to poach the eggs, but not so hot that it splatters or burns. After the first 10 minutes passes, taste the mixture – adjust spices and add salt or pepper if needed, and then add spinach. As it cooks, the sauce will thicken a little.
4. Run the back of a wooden spoon over the top of the tomato mixture to make it level, then make six little wells (indentations) so that your eggs will stay in place while they cook. Break one egg into each well, then cover with a lid and cook for around 10 minutes or until the eggs are poached to your liking. Sometimes a yolk will break (see bottom egg in photo above). If I were serving this in a restaurant or for company I would insist on perfectly poached eggs, but at home for family I'm not stressing out over it.
5. Use a large spoon or ladle to scoop into bowls, serve with bread. Shakshuka is an excellent meal on its own, but we usually enjoy it with a green salad and a bowl of the aforementioned fried haloumi.
For more Glamorosi Recipes click here. All recipe text and photos ©Reese Amorosi / Glamorosi 2014. We're thrilled when you link to our posts, but please do not publish, distribute, re-print or re-post in full or in part without written permission.
Posted on Wednesday, November 5, 2014