Greek olive and herb shakshuka
A Greek-inspired take on baked eggs. I know I am mixing things up here and that this is not a traditional shakshuka – I use the word so you know the feeling of this dish. It’s inspired by something I ate at Hand café in Stratford, where there is great coffee and clever cooking. For vegans, I make this with crisped-up smoked tofu. If you are making the version with eggs, rather than poaching them in the sauce, I boil them and put them on top of the tomato sauce, making life much simpler, and you get perfect jammy eggs every time.
1 red onion, finely chopped
2 cloves of garlic, peeled and thinly sliced
1 teaspoon coriander seeds, bashed
1 teaspoon paprika or chilli powder
2 x 400g tins chopped tomatoes
100g Kalamata olives, pitted and halved
1 tablespoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon red wine or cider vinegar
6 organic eggs or 200g block of smoked tofu, sliced
75g feta or vegan feta-style cheese (optional)
a small bunch of chopped dill, mint or parsley, or a mixture of all three
4 slices of warm bread or flatbreads (optional)
Heat a little olive oil in a large frying pan, add the onion and cook for 10 minutes, until soft and sweet, then add the garlic and cook for another couple of minutes, until the edges begin to brown. Next, add the coriander seeds and toast for a minute with the onion mixture.
Add the paprika or chilli powder and cook for a few seconds before adding the tomatoes, half the olives, the oregano, vinegar and a good pinch of salt and pepper. Half-fill one of the tomato tins with water and add this to the pan too. Simmer over a medium heat and leave the sauce to reduce and thicken a bit, about 10 minutes. While the sauce is cooking, prepare your eggs or tofu.
For the non-vegan shakshuka
For the eggs, put a pan of salted water big enough for all six on to boil, then add the eggs and cook for 5 minutes. Drain, run under cold water, then slightly crack the shells against a hard surface and leave them to cool in the cold water. Once cool, peel and cut in half.
For the vegan shakshuka
If you are using tofu, fry the slices in a little oil until crisp on both sides, then put to one side.
Once the tomato sauce is reduced and thickened, taste and add more salt, pepper and vinegar, if needed. Nestle the cooked tofu or boiled eggs into the sauce, put a lid on the pan and leave for a minute or two to warm through. Finally, crumble over the feta, if using, and sprinkle over the remaining olives and chopped herbs. Serve with warm bread or flatbreads, if you like.