Wednesday, September 09, 2009


This Sunday night supper is an excellent example of the different meals M. and I are drawn to. I am the type that tears recipes from magazines, clips them from the paper and prints them off of the web. And then there are the cookbooks -- it is overwhelming, really, when I think of all the recipes I have. And yet, there are still some days I can't decide what to fix for dinner.

M. is the total opposite. He cooks from his head, knowing somehow what will taste good with what, where to add, and where to simply let ingredients shine.

I was so surprised when he found this recipe from the September issue of Sunset Magazine.

"Save this" he said. "I want to make it."

The recipe was for "paprika tomatoes with poached eggs," aka Shakshouka, a dish from Tunisia and Israel. We had it for dinner that night.

There is nothing about this recipe that would have compelled me to dog-ear the page. Poached eggs simmered in tomatoes? Weird. But it was good -- rich and saucy (its chilly here in San Francisco). We ate our tomatoes and eggs with toast and wiped our plates with hunks of Firestone Bread made in Oakland.

We both agreed that it was a quick and easy go-to dish for any meal (it would be super for lunch or brunch), and could be especially good over rice or pasta on those nights when you don't want to cook at all.

Now, as summer turns to fall, we are thinking again about the kinds of dishes that will keep us warm when it is cold outside. This is one of them. Even if it doesn't sound like your thing, print it out, put it in the big pile of Dishes to Make and promise me you'll try it some day.

1 and 1/2 tsp coriander seeds
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 and 1/2 tablespoons hot or sweet Spanish or Hungarian paprika
about 1/2 tsp salt
3 large cloves garlic, peeled
1 large poblano chile stemmed, seeded, and chopped (we forgot this & it was fine without).
1 to 2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons tomato paste (forgot this too, still good)
1 and 1/2 pounds roma tomatoes, halved lengthwise
4 large eggs
freshly ground pepper

1. Put coriander, cumin, paprika, and 1/2 teaspoon salt in a mortar and pound until crushed (or seal in plastic bag and roll with rolling pin). Add garlic and pound into a paste. Set aside.
2. In a large frying pan over medium heat, cook chile in 1 tbl. oil, stirring often until well browned, about 10-12 minutes.
3. Add spice mixture and tomato paste, and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 1 minute. Stir in 3/4 cup water, then tomatoes. Cook, turning tomatoes occasionally, until softened, 10 to 20 minutes; add more water, 1/4 cup at a time if the mixture starts to get dry -- you want some juices simmering!
4. With a wooden spoon, make 4 depressions in tomato mix and crack an egg in each. Season with salt and pepper. Cover and cook until eggs are set but yolks are still runny, about 5 minutes.
Serve right away with good crusty bread and big green salad.


Whitney said...

Hilarious...Hans and I dog-eared that Sunset recipe and were planning to make it from the mountains of tomatoes in the backyard. Mom and I canned last weekend, but there are many more red, yellow, and rainbow heirlooms on the way! Thanks for the post!

Liz said...

Annebelle!! I have rediscovered your blog this week and I am so excited for the chance to read your great writing. This delicious recipe has inspired our dinner tonight. I am also inspired to bake the yummy cheesecake brownies from smitten kitchen as well. I will let you know how it turns out. Cheers to you!!