A common alternative to the iconic tomato-based shakshuka is one made with wilted greens. Here the greens taste even more savory with the trio of cumin, caraway, and yellow mustard seeds. Spinach is my personal favorite, but any dark leafy greens, from kale to chard, work too. Just cook them down before adding the eggs.
Lior Lev Sercarz, from "Mastering Spice" by Lior Lev Sercarz
1 teaspoon cumin seeds (3 grams)
¾ teaspoon caraway seeds (3 grams)
1 teaspoon yellow mustard seeds (5 grams)
Finely grind the cumin and caraway seeds together and immediately mix with the whole mustard seeds
Extra-virgin olive oil
3 large garlic cloves, thinly sliced
2 large shallots, thinly sliced lengthwise
2 green bell peppers, very thinly sliced
1 tablespoon tomato paste
2 pounds fresh spinach, chopped
6 large eggs, at room temperature
Challah, pita, or other bread, for serving
For the Shakshuka
Coat a large sauté pan (a straight-sided skillet) with oil (2 to 3 tablespoons). Set over medium heat and add the spice blend and garlic. Cook, stirring, until sizzling and fragrant, 1 to 2 minutes.
Add the shallots, season with salt, and stir well. Cover and reduce the heat to low. Cook, stirring occasionally, until translucent, 5 to 6 minutes. Add the green bell peppers, stir well, and cover. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the bell peppers are tender, about 10 minutes.
Add the tomato paste, raise the heat to medium, and stir for 2 minutes. Stir in the spinach and 1 cup water. Bring to a simmer and then reduce the heat to medium-low and cover. Cook for 5 minutes. Uncover and season to taste with salt.
Adjust the heat so the sauce maintains a steady simmer. Crack the eggs on top, spacing them apart. Cover and cook to your desired preference. I like my whites set and yolks runny, which takes 6 to 7 minutes. If you’re not serving this right away, remember that the eggs will continue to cook in the sauce’s residual heat. Serve with bread.
Recipe from "Mastering Spice" by Lior Lev Sercarz.
Photo © Thomas Schauer
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