HomeAbout UsWine ReviewsArchivesAdvertiseContact Us

THE GRAPEVINE

Wine Columns

Wine Reviews

WineReviewOnline.com on Twitter

Critics Challenge

San Diego Challenge

Sommelier Challenge

Winemaker Challenge


Nov 27, 2018
Printable Version
Email this Article

WINE WITH…Shakshuka

It’s hard to come up with something that is as delicious and versatile as this wonderful Middle-Eastern dish.  Shakshuka can be enjoyed for breakfast, brunch, lunch or dinner.  It is a healthful one-dish meal featuring vegetables (bell peppers, onions, and garlic) and fresh herbs, as well as low-fat protein (eggs and feta cheese).  It cooks quickly (using only one pan), and the recipe can easily be expanded or contracted to serve one person or six.  Good bread is the only accompaniment you need.  And, of course, wine.  Despite its overall simplicity, Shakshuka’s multifarious flavors and textures makes it a congenial dish to serve with wine, especially full-flavored, complex whites.

Shakshuka

This recipe serves 2-4 people, but it can easily be expanded to serve 6 by adding extra onion and another bell pepper or two--it’s hard to have too many--plus more eggs and feta.

For a change of pace, you can always work bacon or even pork belly into the recipe.

We make the whole dish on the stovetop, but it can certainly be finished in a preheated 375° oven once you add the eggs (bake it for about 6-10 minutes).

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 thinly sliced onion
1 large red or yellow bell pepper (or a combination) cut in thin strips
3-4 garlic cloves, chopped
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon cumin
1/8 teaspoon cayenne (or to taste)
1 large or 2 medium tomatoes, chopped (or use one 28 ounce can diced tomatoes)
About 4-5 ounces crumbled feta cheese (approximately 1 cup)
4 large eggs
Fresh minced cilantro, mint or parsley, or a combination

Place the olive oil in a medium skillet.  Add the onion and bell pepper and cook over medium heat, stirring frequently, until they have softened.  Stir in the garlic; cook for another minute, then add the paprika, cumin, cayenne and tomatoes.  Simmer, uncovered, for another 10 minutes; then carefully break the eggs over the top of the vegetables.  Sprinkle the feta over everything, turn the heat down to low and cover the pan.  Simmer the shakshika until the eggs are done to your liking, usually about 6-10 minutes.  Garnish the dish with chopped fresh herbs.

*         *         *

Eggs in any form inevitably pair well with white wine, and this dish is no exception.  Unlike simpler dishes, though, it needs a white with fairly bold flavors.  Complexity is also a plus, since Shakshuka is itself multi-layered in terms of flavor.  The following five showed especially well n our tasting, but whatever wine you choose, remember this basic profile and you won’t go wrong.
 

Selection

 

Approx. Price

Comments

 

Lucien Albrecht,

Crément d’Alsace

(France)

Brut

NV

(Imported by Foley Family Wines

 

 

 

$18

    

                                                                                       The bubbles add festive cheer, making the dish seem lighter (and livelier) than it would otherwise, and the crisp citrus and apple flavors make everything feel refreshing.

 

Marco Felluga,

Friuli

(Italy)

“Bianco”

2016

(Imported by Marco Felluga USA/ Dalla Terra)

 

$18

 

An intriguing blend of Pinot Bianco, Pinot Grigio, and Friulano, this is a sumptuous wine, with rich flavors that come from fully ripe grapes rather than wood.  It tastes fresh but at the same time substantial, so meshes well with a dish that exhibits a similar personality.  

 

Domaine de Fussiacus,

Saint-Véran

(France)

2016 

(Imported by Elite Wines)

 

 

 

 

$26

 

Very minerally, showing southern Burgundy elegance, this is a complete and complex wine.  Its Chardonnay fruit provides apple and lemon flavors, but these take a back seat to steely, slate-like ones.  Very classy.

 

 

 

Fess Parker,

Santa Barbara County

(California)

Chardonnay

2017

 

 

    $20

    

 

                                                                                                 

Creamy, with fruit flavors resembling apples and pears, and underlying notes of caramel and toasty brioche, this is a succulent Chardonnay, unabashedly Californian and undeniably delicious.

 

 

 

 

 

Steele,

Lake County 

(California)

Viognier

2017

 

 

 

 

 

$20

 

 

Though slightly muted aromatically, this wine exhibits true varietal flavor, with flavors of peach and apricot intermingled with echoes of honeysuckle and other sweet flowers. California vintners typically do not do well with this grape.  This is a delightful exception.