Editor's note: Philadelphia food writers Joy Manning and Tara Mataraza Desmond drop by each week with Meat Lite, which celebrates meat in moderation. Meat Lite was inspired by the book coauthored by the two, Almost Meatless, due out in spring 2009.
Eggs are arguably the most customizable food. They are also one of the best sources of complete protein available to us, which is why Joy and I decided to devote an entire chapter to eggs, amongst the seven other meat-centric chapters, in Almost Meatless. Plus, eggs as a meal are inexpensive--even when you opt for the highest quality, fresh-from-the- source dozen you can find. These nutrient packed orbs go far beyond breakfast and baking for delicious meals and sustenance all day long.
Joy and I met for lunch last week at Kanella, a Greek restaurant serving Cypriot specialties and other Mediterranean/Middle Eastern food in Philadelphia. The place has been wooing Joy with its avgolemono, a tough-to-beat bowl of chicken broth and lemon juice thickened with egg yolks and rice that tastes as homemade as it gets. I was lined up to order the same, until the Shaksouka won me over.
The dish--especially common in Israeli cuisine--is simply a tomato sauce simmered with herbs and spices. It rounds out to a satisfying meal with the addition of two eggs, cooked to your liking in the sauce. I opted for soft set yolks, which spilled out upon the slightest nudge with my fork, seeping into the tomatoes. Soft, garlicky bread and a wide spoon were the best tools for cleaning my plate.
Tweak the herbs and spices, add a kick of heat, fry or scramble your eggs--this iteration of Shaksouka is as customizable as the eggs you add to your go of it.
Tara Mataraza Desmond writes about, cooks, and eats food for a living. Her blog, Crumbs On My Keyboard, is dedicated to delicious things in Philadelphia and lots of other places.
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 small onion, diced small
- 3 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
- 2 teaspoons ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon ground coriander
- 1/2 teaspoon paprika
- 1 whole small sprig fresh oregano
- 1/2 cup water
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 4 to 8 eggs
Heat the olive oil in a large high-sided sauté pan over medium heat. Add the onions and garlic and sweat them for about 5 minutes, until they soften a little.
Add the tomatoes, cumin, coriander, paprika, oregano and water. Stir to combine and then season the sauce to taste with salt and pepper. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat to simmer, covered, for 25 minutes.
Uncover the pan and crack the eggs into the simmering sauce one at a time, spaced a few inches from each other. Cover the pan again and continue to simmer about five minutes (soft yolk), or until the egg whites are cooked and the yolk is set to your liking.
Ladle the sauce and eggs into shallow bowls and serve with thick toasted bread for sopping up the sauce and egg yolk.