- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- ½ onion, diced
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 jalapeño, seeded and finely sliced
- ½ red sweet bell pepper, seeded and chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, crushed and chopped
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
- One 14-ounce can chopped tomatoes
- Pinch of superfine sugar
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- 4 free-range eggs
- 2 large pita breads, cut in half
- A few leaves flat-leaf parsley, for garnish
The name doesn’t really roll off the tongue on a hungover morning but this recipe, which uses a combination of eggs and spicy tomato sauce — similar to the Mexican huevos rancheros, though with a distinctively North African/Middle Eastern flavor — offers a memorably fiery blast-off to a day that might otherwise have proved drab and dull.
Shakshuka is usually thought of as an Israeli breakfast dish, but in fact is eaten widely in Morocco, Tunisia, Algeria, and Yemen too. The only slightly unusual ingredient is the smoked paprika, which gives the tomato sauce a wonderful smoky richness.
This version is quite spicy; if you prefer a milder dish, you can halve the quantities of jalapeño, pepper, and paprika.
Turn on the broiler.
Heat the olive oil in a frying pan over medium heat and cook the onion for 5-7 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the onion has softened and taken on a slight golden color.
Add the bay leaves, jalapeño, red pepper, and garlic, and stir. Keep stirring and cook for 1 more minute.
Add the cumin and paprika and continue stirring for another minute.
Stir in the tomatoes and a pinch of superfine sugar, season with salt and pepper, and leave to simmer on low heat for about 7 minutes, stirring occasionally.
When the sauce has thickened, make 4 small “craters” in the tomato mixture and break one egg into each crater.
Leave the mixture on low heat for 2 minutes, until the egg whites begin to set, then place the frying pan under a medium broiler for 3-4 minutes, keeping a careful watch to make sure the egg yolks don’t fully set; runny yolks are essential.
Take the frying pan out from under the broiler, season the eggs with salt and pepper, and set aside while you toast the pita breads.
Toast the pita breads under the broiler for about 1 minute.
Lift the eggs out of the sauce, placing 2 on each plate and spoon the sauce alongside, removing the bay leaves. Garnish with a little flat-leaf parsley. Place the pita breads on the side of each plate and make sure you use them to dip into the delicious sauce.