"Most Middle Eastern countries, from Israel and Palestine to Algeria, Morocco and Tunisia, make a variation of this delicious peasant dish," writes Rawia Bishara in Olives, Lemons & Za'atar: The Best Middle Eastern Home Cooking. "It is an ideal option when you don't have anything in the cupboard - you break a few eggs into a simmering seasoned tomato sauce and it's time to eat."
Eggs in Purgatory (Shakshuka)
Slightly adapted from a recipe in Rawia Bishara's Olives, Lemons & Za'atar: The Best Middle Eastern Home Cooking, published by Kyle Books.
6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 6 cloves garlic, finely chopped
- 2 shallots, finely chopped
- 1 red pepper, cored and cut into small dice
- 1 green pepper, cored and cut into small dice
- 3 tablespoons tomato paste
- 1 tablespoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon ground coriander
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- 1/4 teaspoon ground caraway (optional)
- 6 ripe beefsteak tomatoes, peeled and chopped
- juice of 1/2 lemon
- 6 large eggs
- pita bread and plain yogurt, for serving
In a large skillet, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Toss in the garlic and shallots and saute until they begin to take on color, about 3 minutes. Add the red and green peppers and saute for 3 minutes more. Stir in the tomato paste and mix until incorporated, about 3 minutes. Sprinkle in the cumin, coriander, salt and caraway, if using, and stir for 1 minute. Add the tomatoes, reduce the heat and cook until the liquid is reduced and the sauce has thickened, 10 to 12 minutes.
Add the lemon juice, raise the heat and bring to a boil. Break the eggs into the skillet in a single layer, pushing the whites toward the yolk with a wooden spoon to keep them intact. Cook until the whites are opaque and the middle of the yolk is still slightly runny. Sccop the eggs and tomato sauce into bowls and serve with the bread and yogurt.
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