Adi Avivi

As a student in a young people's apartment, we had to come up with simple easy-to-make recipes.  This shakshuka dish turns out a bit differently every time, but it's good, tasty and fun to eat.  Serve a hungry person this dish with some salad from tomatoes, cucumbers, green onion with olive oil, a bit of lemon, salt and black pepper, and a big piece of white bread or challah to dip in the sauce.

Food Editor's note: Adi is an Israeli who is now living temporarily in Somerville.  He used as a resource when he was still in Israel, and sent us this recipe for the popular Israeli egg-and-tomato dish.  Although I had seen several different recipes for shakshuka, I had never made it or eaten it until recently.  It is fairly easy to make, quite tasty, and definitely a novel way to consume eggs (at least for us Americans!).  Shakshuka, which means "all shook up" in Hebrew, is an inexpensive and healthy meal, and you can add ingredients (more vegetables, such as green and red bell peppers, or different spices, such as basil, chili peppers, etc.) and vary the amounts.  Claudia Roden, in her tome The Book of Jewish Food, says that shakshuka originated in Tunisia.  Today this is a mainstay of Israeli cuisine.

2 two big tomatoes
1 big onion
2-3 cloves garlic
1 small can tomato paste
olive oil
Salt, pepper, paprika, chili powder
3-4 eggs

Cut the onion into little pieces and set aside.  Place the tomatoes in boiling water for a minute and then immerse in ice cold water.  Pat dry and peel off the skin.  Cut the tomatoes into squares and don't through away the seeds and juices.  You need them to make a rich tasty shakshuka
Fry the onions with the mashed garlic until it is transparent and golden.  Then you add the tomatoes and let it cook for a few minutes, steaming a bit.  Add the tomato paste and about half a glass of water – the sauce shouldn't be too thick at this stage.  Add the spices – salt, black pepper, red paprika, and a bit of chili (a good shakshuka should have a twist of hotness in it).

Let it all cook for a few minutes and then you add the eggs – break the eggs into the sauce without damaging the yellow part.  Every egg should sit in a little place of its own in the sauce.  It's recommended to cook them on a low fire so that the bottom of your frying pan won't burn.  I myself like my eggs hard, so I flip them, but this is a matter of taste.

For a variation, you can add some red sweet pepper to the fried vegetables, and you can spread fresh parsley or even cook it for a while – I think it's a good supplement.

Yield: 3 or 4 servings.