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.
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.
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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.