You have likely seen versions of this recipe scattered across the internet. It answers to the name shakshouka as well, an Israeli dish by way of Tunisia. But this is my own little version, which I’ve filtered to my liking and nudged in the direction of Italy.
This is a recipe of many virtues: It might look as if it were whisked from a restaurant kitchen, but it is truly easy to make, and truly quick. It’s manageable for cooks of all abilities. What’s more, it requires minimal contrivances: a knife, a cutting board, a spoon, a pan. That is all.
This is largely a pantry dish, so call upon it when you are low on time and supplies, but don’t want to sacrifice taste. (Never sacrifice taste.) Adjust the ingredient quantities/pan size depending on how many people you will be feeding, and by all means, feel free to experiment with your own additions: herbs, spices, and vegetables are all fair game. The recipe as presented is vegetarian, but I doubt anyone would complain at the addition of sausage or ground lamb, perhaps a meatball or two.
The other night, the Frenchman and I biked to the river. We dismounted at the promenade, parked the bikes against the railing, and sat down on one of the benches facing Governor’s Island, the Statue of Liberty, and lower Manhattan. The sun set over the water, and he asked me what was for dinner.
“Well, I made a stock from pork and chicken bones, an onion, celery, garlic, peppercorns, thyme, bay leaves, and a little ginger. Then I caramelized some onions, which I’ll swirl into the broth, after I add two eggs for poaching. Then I’ll pour the broth, the onions, and the poached eggs over that last nub of stale baguette I found in the bread bowl.
Also, I made a kind of ratatouille with zucchini and tomatoes from this week’s CSA box, plus thyme, garlic, and shallots. I cooked it down with red wine and olive oil, a pinch of sugar, salt, and pepper. Then I stirred in the croutons leftover from the weekend. I spooned it into individual ramekins, dotted the top with goat cheese and shaved Parmesan, and I’ll put them in the oven until the tops are bubbling.”
There was a pause. “So.. we’re having soup?”