We need to talk shakshuka — now, more than ever, it’s having a moment. I peg it on the popularity of Yottam Ottolenghi’s Jerusalem Cookbook that this bell pepper baked egg dish has become so prevalent. I was first introduced to it by my Tunisian neighbors when I lived in Paris and have made some variation on it since. Like so many dishes in the Middle East (hummus, tabbouleh, etc), these are dishes that come from everywhere yet nowhere at once and this one is no exception. But, no matter where it originally comes from, what I can tell you is it’s delicious. I started making shakshuka as a twist on the Italian tomato sauce baked eggs known as Eggs in Purgatory (aka Uova al Purgatorio) and now prefer Harissa Shakshuka to the Italian version (sorry, Nono)! It’s because of the contrast of charred bell peppers and onions with a sweet tomato sauce. Or the way the spicy, warm harissa paste creeps up on you a few bites in. Or maybe it’s how the cool yogurt makes everything creamy and a little mellow like sour cream in a good chili (you know what I’m saying)? And, of course, the fact it’s got an egg? Well, that only give it more street cred, don’t you think?
Whatever the reason, I’m sold and I think you might be too. There are a kajillion versions of shakshuka out there but this Harissa Shakshuka is the recipe I come back to time and again — it’s simplified for a true weeknight meal but interesting enough to keep it from getting boring.