As you may have guessed from the title, this is not my recipe. Alas, it’s Ottolenghi’s. I was tempted to play around with some of the ingredients and pass it off as my own, but that would be pretty dishonest. Plain theft really. Bloody Ottolenghi… he’s just so damn talented! I visited his restaurant in Islington last year with my friend and it was incredible. We barely spoke to one another we were enjoying the food so much! It seems there’s nothing he touches that isn’t turned into incredible, luscious food porn. He’s going to be speaking at the Ballymaloe LitFest this year but unfortunately the tickets to his event are sold out, so I’m going to have to try and gatecrash it. To those who have managed to get their hands on tickets… I’m very jealous.
While this isn’t my recipe, I felt that I just had to share it to those who may not have already tried this… The rest of the world needs his shakshuka in their lives. This recipe is the perfect brunch, it feels indulgent but it’s pretty healthy. You can also make the sauce the night before which is pretty handy if you want to speed up the cooking the next morning. I didn’t have any thyme or saffron and it still worked beautifully. I served this up with my homemade sourdough bread for three very harsh critics (my family) and they all loved it, but don’t just take my word for it…. Try it out!
½ tsp cumin seeds
190ml light olive oil or vegetable oil (I used just under half a cup)
2 large onions, peeled and sliced
2 red and 2 yellow peppers, cored and cut into 2cm strips
4 tsp muscovado sugar
6 sprigs thyme, picked and chopped
2 tbsp flat-leaf parsley, chopped
1 bunch fresh coriander, chopped
6 ripe tomatoes, roughly chopped
½ tsp saffron strands
Pinch of cayenne pepper
Salt and pepper
Up to 250ml water
8 free-range eggs
- In a large saucepan, dry-roast the cumin on high heat for two minutes. Add the oil and sauté the onions for two minutes. Add the peppers, sugar, bayleaves, thyme, parsley and two tablespoons of coriander, and cook on high heat to get a nice colour. Add the tomatoes, saffron, cayenne, salt and pepper. Cook on low heat for 15 minutes, adding enough water to keep it the consistency of a pasta sauce. Taste and adjust the seasoning. It should be potent and flavoursome. You can prepare this mix in advance.
- Place four saucepans on medium heat and divide the mixture between them. Break two eggs into each pan, pouring into gaps in the mixture. Sprinkle with salt, cover and cook very gently for 10-12 minutes, until the egg just sets. Sprinkle with coriander and serve with chunky white bread.