Shakshuka

shakshouka pan

Shakshuka is the kind of dish I enjoy making over and over again: the meal includes eggs, requires just one pan, and is easy to switch up.  With origins in North Africa, this stovetop meal might include paprika and cumin one morning, and meander across the Mediterranean Sea the next, featuring mint and parsley.  This afternoon I made an Italian variation, swapping cumin and paprika for parsley and oregano.  Throwing in an extra clove of garlic and a cup of mushrooms, the marinara became a chunky tomato sauce, forming the perfect cradle for an egg.

Ingredients:

2 Tbsp. olive oil
1 small yellow onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 handful parsley, roughly chopped
2 teaspoons oregano, dried or fresh
1 teaspoon red chili flakes
1.5 cup mushrooms
6 cups spinach
1 14-oz can of diced tomatoes
4 or more eggs
salt and pepper

Directions

1. Heat oil in a 10-inch cast iron skillet over medium heat until it shimmers.  Add diced onions and cook until soft.

2. Add garlic, parsley, oregano and mushrooms, and continue to cook.  Add more oil if mushrooms begin to stick to the pan. Cook 2-3 minutes.

2.   Add entire can of tomatoes and tomato liquid.  Add a few dashes of salt and pepper and stir to mix.  Cook, stirring every so often, for 5 minutes.

3.  Add spinach, and stir until the leaves wilt into the sauce.

4.  Using a wooden spoon, make wells in the bubbling sauce for your eggs.  Crack each egg into its well, and sprinkle salt and pepper to taste.  Cover the pan for 4 minutes, or until the egg whites have cooked and the yolks remain soft or a little runny.

5. Serve immediately, over crusty bread or polenta.  Add shaved parmesan atop.

Variations:
North African: Instead of parsley and oregano, use 1 Tbsp. cumin and 1/2 Tbsp. smoked paprika.  Omit mushrooms, add diced carrots (2) and celery (1 stalk).

Mexican: Instead of parsley and oregano, use cilantro (1 handful) and 1 Tbsp. cumin.  Omit mushrooms, add diced sweet potato and a serrano chili pepper (adding a few more minutes for cooking time before adding sauce).

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