This Shakshuka is our fourth and final recipe in celebration of Heart Month 2022 and it’s one of my favourites. Eggs , like the shrimp featured in last week’s recipe, are another food that have gone on and off the list of foods that are safe for a heart healthy diet. They are finally off the naughty list for good this time. As long as you are watching your other intake of saturated fats (red meat, beef, pork chicken skin, whole fat dairy and cheese), there is no need to avoid the perfect egg.
If you have heart disease and want to be careful, you can limit yourself to four or five eggs a week. For everyone else, there is no current recommendation on how many eggs you can scarf. If you want, feel free to double the eggs in this dish to serve everyone two. Since we are promoting heart health, I only list using one egg per serving.
Feta is a good cheese with one bad attribute. It’s low in fat, full of calcium and protein but high in sodium. Since it packs a huge flavour punch, you don’t have to use a ton so we use it sparingly.
There are as many versions of Shakshuka as there are varieties of tomato but this is something between shakshuka and the Turkish dish, Menemen, a staple of Anatolian cuisine. Menemen typically uses fresh green peppers and is more like a thick ratatouille and often contains some ground lamb or sausage. I do not believe in green peppers and ground lamb and sausage are absolutely not on the menu during Heart Month.
2 tbls olive oil
1 small onion, thinly sliced
2 gloves garlic, minced
2 tsp cumin
1 tsp paprika
1 large roasted red pepper, sliced into 2″ strips
2 tbls Turkish red pepper paste (biber salcasi) in either hot or mild
salt to taste but try to keep it to 1 tsp t
2 cups of passata or tomato puree, low sodium or sodium free if using jarred
*1 tsp Turkish black Urfa chili flakes (cocoa like smokey flavour, mildly spicy)
*1 tsp Maras or Marash chili (fruity undertones, medium heat)
1/4 to 1/2 cup crumbled feta (use less if you actually have heart disease)
big handful of washed, dried and chopped cilantro
serve with warm, whole wheat pita or other good, whole grain bread
* if you can’t find these spices, just leave them out. I have never found a good substitute and it will still be delicious without them, just different.
Heat the olive oil in a deep sauté pan and sauté the onion until soft, just a few minutes. Add in the garlic and cook for another minute before you add the, cumin, paprika, stir til fragrant, around 30 seconds before you throw in the red pepper and biber salcasi, cook for another minute and then, finally, add the tomato puree. Let simmer lightly for about 10 minutes.
Crack each egg, one by one, into a small bowl. Create a shallow well in the sauce and gently tip the egg into the well, repeating with the remaining eggs and scatter the Urfa and the Maras chili over the top (if you are using those).
Simmer gently until your eggs are set to your liking (8-10 minutes for me) OR throw in a preheated 325F oven for about 20 to 25 minutes OR lovingly and gently baste the egg whites with the sauce so that they cook faster and you can achieve a cooked white with a still soft, runny yolk. It depends on your level of commitment. I simmer gently until the eggs are set and the yolks are soft and creamy.
Garnish with crumbled feta and cilantro