Shakshuka, Eggs in Purgatory- call it what you like, the essence is the same here: eggs poached in tomato sauce. Shakshuka is the middle eastern version of this dish and one of my all time favourite breakfasts. Traditionally, shakshuka is seasoned with paprika and cumin and served with flatbreads to dip. Eggs in Purgatory, on the other hand, is… I want to say Italian? English? Nigella Lawson made it, that I know. Spicy tomato sauce, bread for dipping. It’s the classic cure for everything from a plain, gloomy morning to a crushing hangover.
Both are phenomenally delicious and make an excellent, foolproof, clean-out-the-fridge (or garden) breakfast.
That is, if you happen to have a stocked fridge or a garden…
Man, what I wouldn’t have done for a stocked fridge to empty this morning. Alas, our delighful AirBnB host left us nothing but Tabasco and beer (not that we don’t appreciate that, too).
Last night, Colin and I visited the theatre in Dublin to see Oscar Wilde’s The Importance of Being Earnest. Now, you wouldn’t think such a civilized evening would end at 4am, YouTubing Rihanna music videos but, alas…
I blame the Irish. The warm, boisterous, lovely Irish. A very restrained trip to the Jameson’s Distillery turned into pre-theatre dinner, grabbed at a local brewery. Live music, communal tables, wild yarns, loud singing. The play was funny and served us well, if only to pull us from our new-found friends for a short while. After the show, we were tempted in to another pub- more live music, more new friends. A nightcap, we said. Half an hour, we said…
And here we are, the next day. I am pretty tired, yes, but determined to rally. We don’t visit Ireland very often, and it’s our last full day in Dublin, so we are determined to make the most of it. Even in the haze of the morning however, I have no regrets over our riotous evening in the Temple Bar. When in Rome (or, er, Dublin)… it’s all about the craic.
The Museum of Anthropology, the National Gallery. Coffee, water, walk, walk, walk.
Tonight will be an early night, right? It had better be, since our bus to Athlone leaves at 6:30am. (eep)
Now, onwards with the recipe! I love that this meal is pretty much just one big bowl of veggies- but it doesn’t seem like it, does it? All the comfort of warm, hearty eggs but it sneaks in a few servings of your daily required veg! Perfect.
Shakshutatory is not a word, I get that. But this isn’t quite a classic Shakshuka, nor is it a classic Eggs in Purgatory. It’s an Italian… shakshukatory.
If you happen to have other veg in the house, throw it in! Depending on what I have on hand, I have added everything from kale to to carrots to chopped, leftover roast potatoes. Toss it all in and simmer- this recipe is forgiving and just gets better the more you add.
Now, I’m going to go take an afternoon nap and dream of eating this. Not that I don’t love black pudding but, when I’m feeling a little delicate, blood sausage isn’t tops on my list of cures to soothe the stomach.
A nap will cure everything. A nap and, later, a boxty. Or a steak and Guinness pie… Maybe another pint. What? I can’t go to a pub just order orange juice. I’m in IRELAND.
(clearly, I am channeling Anthony Bourdain on this one. Lord, save my liver.)
|Italian Eggs in Shakshukatory|| |
- 1 medium onion, diced
- 2 large garlic cloves, crushed
- Olive oil
- ½ tsp dried oregano
- ¼ tsp dried rosemary
- ⅛ tsp chili flakes (optional)
- 4 large tomatoes, diced (San Marzano if possible, but any kind will do)
- ½ zucchini, diced
- ⅓ cup fresh spinach, lightly packed and coarsely chopped
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- ¼ cup feta cheese, crumbled
- 3 large eggs
- 4-5 large basil leaves, chopped
- To serve: torn focaccia or flatbread
- Heat a glug of olive oil in a medium sized pan. I love using cast iron for this since it serves nicely right in the pan and disperses the heat nicely, but use whatever you've got.
- Add onions and cook until soft and translucent. Add garlic and cook for 2 minutes, until fragrant. Add oregano, rosemary and chili flakes, if using. Add zucchini and saute for 2-3 minutes. Add tomatoes and cook until they soften, breaking them up with the back of a spoon as they cook. Add spinach and cook until it softens, another 2 minutes or so.
- Using a spoon, create three small wells in the tomato mixture. Crack an egg into each well. Crumble feta over the top, reduce heat to med-low, cover and cook for 5 minutes, or until the egg whites have mostly cooked. Baste the tops of the eggs with some of the tomato sauce underneath. Once the eggs are almost fully cooked, remove from heat (the eggs will continue to cook for a few minutes afterwards). Sprinkle with fresh basil and serve with torn focaccia or flatbreads. I like to serve this straight out of the pan, with a spoon to help scoop everything on to the bread.