Shakshuka is a middle-eastern dish popularised, at least in the UK, by Ottolenghi and it is very much worth your time. You can find a recipe for it here. I’m not sure what makes this dish a shakshuka, since it usually contains tomatoes, but I’m not complaining because it is delicious. And equally worth your time. It is basically a hash, but with the flavour ramped up by the addition of caramelised garlic. If you don’t have any eggs it would still be gorgeous. It’s one-pot too which, for those of us now cooking twice a day without a dishwasher, makes it somewhat of a godsend.
The recipe comes from Honey & Co in the FT Weekend magazine. We normally buy the physical paper on Saturdays and I love their recipes, particularly the fact that there is just one really good one every week, not thousands of slightly less interesting ones. Since we can’t get it now, I have subscribed for their 4-weeks for a £1 trial. I recommend it; it gives you access to the recipe archive and it is full of great things. Like this. It’s a perfect brunch, but I could be tempted to eat it at night too…
Makes enough for 2
(I’ve chopped it down from the original recipe for 4; if there’s just you, I’m pretty certain the hash part would reheat beautifully for a second helping the next day.)
whole head of garlic, unpeeled
olive oil, 40ml
thyme, large sprig (we are lucky enough to have this growing on our balcony; if you don’t have it, a little dried thyme or a bay leaf or two would be nice but I don’t think it’s essential)
sea salt, a teaspoon
black pepper, freshly ground
1. Cut the whole head of garlic in half across the middle (so not root to tip but across its fattest part, the equator if you like, so that you cut across the cloves).
2. Put the olive oil in a large, wide, deep lidded frying pan (I use what’s known as a chef’s pan, which I think is the most useful pan ever), place it over a low heat then add the garlic bulb, cut-side down. Leave to cook for about 10 minutes (resisting the urge to fiddle about with it too much) or until the cut side is golden brown.
3. While the garlic is cooking, peel and slice the onion.
4. When the garlic is done, remove it from the pan, add the bunch of thyme to the oil (it will spit a little), then add the onions, stir into the oil and leave to cook for about 10 minutes.
5. Meanwhile, as soon the garlic is a little cooler, slip off the skins and return it to the pan.
6. Peel and thinly slice the potatoes and add those to the pan (actually, it probably doesn’t matter if you peel them really; I think that is the culinary equivalent of wearing pyjamas for Zoom calls right now; who’s looking?!). Mix them into the onions, season with the salt, cover the pan and leave to cook for another 10 minutes. Mix again, cover and cook for another 10.
7. Remove the thyme sprigs, if that’s what you used, add about 100ml of water and increase the temperature so that the water is boiling.
8. Boil for five minutes, check that the potatoes are done and, as and when they are, break the eggs over the top. Season with lots of black pepper, cover and cook for another five minutes or so, until the whites are cooked but the yolks are still runny. (Weirdly, the eggs cook quite quickly in this version whereas they seem to take forever in tomatoes.)