Shakshuka, a North African dish consisting primarily of juicy tomatoes and heady spices, is often served piping hot with eggs poached directly in the crimson red sauce. For our version - which draws its inspiration from the beloved classic but certainly eschews tradition - we poach our eggs in a hot water bath to ensure we achieve perfectly runny yolks with just set whites, before nestling them into the hot shakshuka to serve.
2 tablespoons olive oil
½ large red onion, thinly sliced
Sea salt to season
4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons harissa paste
½ cup preserved red pepper, chopped
2 cups crushed red tomatoes
½ cup chicken or vegetable stock
1 teaspoon honey
1 teaspoon sherry vinegar
1 can Ekone smoked mussels
Fresh ground black pepper to taste
2-4 eggs, preferably pasture raised
1 tablespoon white wine, rice wine, or distilled white vinegar
A few sprigs of parsley, to serve
Toasted sourdough bread, to serve
Place a wide rimmed frying pan over medium heat. When the pan is hot but not smoking, add the olive oil, red onion, and a pinch of salt. Cook the onions on medium heat, stirring occasionally, until they are meltingly soft and deeply caramelized, 15-20 minutes. Add the garlic cloves and cook for a minute or two to allow their pungency to soften. Add the harissa paste and stir well to incorporate. Cook for another minute to release the aromatics in the harissa.
Add the red peppers, tomatoes, a pinch of salt, and stock to the pan. Bring to a vigorous simmer and cook for 15-20 minutes, until the mixture has reduced by 25%. Take off the heat and fold in the smoked mussels. Season with the honey, sherry vinegar, a generous grind of black pepper, and another pinch of salt if necessary.
To poach your eggs, bring a small saucepan of water to a boil. Add your choice of vinegar to the water, and reduce the heat by a smidge to maintain a gentler boil. Crack the eggs into small ramekins, and gently transfer them into the water. Poach for 3 minutes for a very soft and runny yolk, cook for longer if you prefer a more cooked egg. Line a plate with paper towels. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the cooked eggs to the paper towel lined plate. Season with a pinch of salt and a grind of black pepper.
To serve the shakshuka, transfer the hot shakshuka to a deep serving platter (or serve it directly from the pan you cooked it in) and make little wells with the back of a large spoon to accommodate the eggs. Gently place the eggs inside of these little nests. Garnish the shakshuka with a generous handful of parsley sprigs, and serve alongside toasted bread.