Saturday, February 9, 2013

Eggs in Purgatory

Well, there has been some blizzard cooking going on around here for the last few days. I'm not even going to show you my one millionth attempt to make bread (other than my faithful beer bread). I actually was so irritated that it didn't work (why why why won't my bread rise in the oven???) that I made a second, only mildly better, batch. But, what DID emerge from all of this is what I think will be a new go-to recipe that I'm pretty excited about.
I went to brunch this morning and on the menu was "shakshuka", basically eggs poached in a tomato mixture. The version I had was based on tomatillos (side note: spell check would like me to change 'tomatillos' to 'automatism'), so was green and spicy and delicious. I knew I had to try to make it myself!

I didn't have tomatillos, I actually only had cherry tomatoes, but this recipe does not seem to be very picky.

The stuff (generally speaking):
1 tomato, chopped (or, a bunch of cherry tomatoes)
1/2 bell pepper, chopped fine
onion, chopped (I only had spring onions, and used 2)
1/8 tsp red pepper flakes
2 cloves garlic
1/4 tsp paprika
salt to taste
oil for cooking veggies
2 eggs
bread, to sop things up

What to do with it:
This amount of veggie worked for 2 eggs, if you want more eggs, increase as needed.
Pan selection is actually relatively important- since the egg will be cooking in the tomato mixture, not on the bottom of a pan, you want a pan that is small enough that a reasonable amount of veggies will pile deep enough to sit the egg in.  I used my little cast iron pan that I normally use for eggs.

Heat the oil, put in the garlic and onions for a minute, then throw in the tomato, pepper, and spices. Cover, and let it cook together until it tastes like the tomatoes are cooked. Honestly, all of my vegetable volume selection was geared towards filling the pan, but keep in mind they will all cook down a bit too. Once they are cooked, clear a spot for each egg and crack it in gently. Turn down the heat, cover, and heat. You really want to be sure the white gets firm, but the yolk should be soft or runny. I did a lot of poking the white with my finger to figure this out.
What's really good is that the yolk kind of runs into the tomatoes and makes them really rich and delicious. It's also good to have some bread handy, to sop up the tomato and egg.

This is one of those things that I can imagine being really flexible- you could probably throw in almost any choppable vegetable, and I'm sure you could make it with canned tomatoes, which puts it in the magical realm of things you can make on the fly with stuff from the pantry. You can also get away with pretty minimal oil which makes this both delicious and healthy! I'm sure I'll be having it again!

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