Thursday, January 22, 2009

It's what's for dinner

I had eaten shakshouka, a Tunisian and Israeli dish of cooked tomatoes, spices and eggs, at Sunday brunch, but wouldn't have ventured to make it myself had my co-worker not successfully done so and given it an enthusiastic Two Thumbs Up. Once I realized that there really wasn't much to it - just slow-cooking some tomatoes (either fresh or canned will do), spices, and adding an egg or two on top to essentially poach in the stewing vegetables - I couldn't deny what a deal this was: a fast, healthy and delicious weeknight dinner for one. Major duh here, people.

So I set about making the dish, of course adding some splatters of culinary paint to the blank canvas, such as a glug of red wine into the tomatoes, a few handfuls of fresh spinach for color and texture, and a few sprinkles of red pepper flakes for zing. And the final product:

Drunken Shakshouka with Spinach
Yield: 1 dinner serving

- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 2 cloves garlic, chopped
- 15-oz can of whole peeled tomatoes (go for organic, no-salt if available)
- 1/4 cup dry red wine
- 1/2 teaspoon cumin
- 3 handfuls fresh baby spinach/arugula leaves
- 2 eggs (organic, free-range is the best)
- dash of crushed red pepper (optional)
- salt to taste

1. Set a large saucepan (with a lid) over low heat. Add the oil after a minute or two and swirl around to coat bottom of pan. Add the garlic and stir 2-3 minutes, until fragrant and just sizzling. Add tomatoes and raise heat to medium-low. Cover pan and let the tomatoes break down about 10 minutes. Open lid, pour in wine, and raise heat to medium-high to allow for alcohol to cook off, stirring frequently. Once the tomato sauce starts looking thicker, add the spinach on top, turn the heat back down to medium-low, and cover the pan to allow the spinach to wilt, about 2 minutes. Uncover and stir to incorporate the wilted spinach into the tomato sauce.

2. With heat still on medium-low, crack one egg into a cup and carefully slide it into one side of the pan. Do the same with the second egg, on the other side. Cover and let the eggs cook 3-7 minutes, depending on your preference. (I went for an even 5 minutes and got egg yolks that were still gooey but totally set - just the way I like them!) After the eggs are cooked to your liking, transfer the contents of the pan to a large dinner plate (carefully, to not upset the eggs), sprinkle with red pepper (if using) and salt to taste, and enjoy with a slice of whole grain toast.

No comments: