If you find this difficult to pronounce, never mind recognize, let me begin by explaining that it is Tunisian. This delicious dish is also known as “shaksuka”. (You decide which variation rolls off your tongue most easily.) And, for many reasons, it serves a special place in your breakfast or brunch file.
The recipes calls for eggs cooked in a thick, spicy sauce of tomatoes and peppers. At this time of year, as the tomatoes ripen, and we begin to wonder what to do with all the garden bounty littering our countertops and window sills, it’s a perfect recipe in which to use at least some of them.
My great-uncle, an authentic French chef, was very fond of this dish and my mother mastered it under his strict tutelage: “Cook it slowly…” It soon became a family favorite. Not known for my patience, my version is a lot quicker; in fact, you can put it together in a flash while the coffee brews.
Heat a fry pan on medium-high heat with a slick of olive oil. Add a sliced green pepper and cook until tender. Meanwhile, chop fresh tomatoes and add them to the pan, juice, seeds, and all. I use about two tomatoes per person, depending on size. Add chopped garlic, herbs and spices of your choice. I love fresh basil and red pepper flakes, but anything that tickles your fancy will do as well. The sauce will thicken as you stir. Lastly, scramble one or two eggs per person and drizzle them into the sauce. Let them set up a bit, then gently fold into the tomato mixture. Serve on warm, crusty bread and sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.
In the months when garden tomatoes are not available, canned tomatoes make a fine substitute. Try this exotic Tunisian specialty whenever your inner gourmet craves an international experience. And challenge your family to pronounce it!