Southwest-Style Shakshuka (Eggs Cooked in Spiced Tomato Sauce) Avocado, Epazote, Pinto Beans
Shakshuka, the breakfast/lunch dish that originated in Tunisia that’s wildly popular in Israel, is a perfect brunch item. It is easy to prepare in a single pan but takes a bit more time than weekday fried eggs and toast. The skillet doubles as the serving dish, and makes a terrific presentation on the buffet.
This now-global egg and tomato skillet dish has many incarnations – made with a myriad of ingredients such as sausage, feta, bell peppers, eggplant, potatoes, and a variety of herbs and spices depending on geography and the seasons.
Inspired by my garden overflowing with epazote, I decided to make shakshuka with a Southwestern influence. Epazote is often paired with beans for its natural carminative properties. The saw-toothed epazote leaves give the shakshuka a unique aroma and flavor. I have fallen in love with this herb and its intriguing bouquet which is strangely reminiscent of, if you can believe it, kerosene. Here, spicy tomato sauce is simmered with pinto beans and epazote, then topped with eggs. Once cooked, the whole thing is garnished with avocado slices, cilantro and scallions.
It can be served on its own or with smoky charred corn tortillas and sour cream.
For the Memorial Day holiday, try this vegetarian shakshuka for brunch, and save the meat for a big barbecue later in the day.
Every year at the end of May, it is our duty to honor those who have laid down their lives to defend our freedom and ensure our liberty. Simultaneously we celebrate Memorial Day weekend as the official start of the summer grilling season. So in addition to serving awesome grilled foods and refreshing drinks, we proudly display the American flag and observe a minute of silence at 3:00 PM to honor and remember those who have died in service to our nation. We turn on the television to watch the President lay a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknowns, and we listen with respect as a lone bugler plays the languid 24-note melancholy bugle call known as Taps.
“The solemn pride that must be yours to have laid so costly a sacrifice upon the altar of freedom.”
“A nation reveals itself not only by the men it produces, but also by the men it honors, the men it remembers.”
John F. Kennedy
“Memorial Day is a day of ceremonies and speeches. Throughout America today, we honor the dead of our wars. We recall their valor and their sacrifices. We remember they gave their lives so that others might live.”
Speaking of May, and Eggs…
May is also Matilija Poppy month. These huge poppies that look like fried eggs burst open in May. Romneya coulteri is a native wildflower found only in Southern California and Northern Baja. Below, Matilija Poppies juxtaposed with a purple Jacaranda tree in bloom at Averill Park show off the unique Southern California flora in the month of May.
- 2 T. olive oil
- 1 shallot – small dice
- 3 garlic cloves – minced
- 1/4 t. red chile flakes or to taste
- canned whole peeled tomatoes, crushed
- 1 can pinto beans – rinsed, drained
- 1 sprig epazote – chopped
- 1 t. ground cumin
- 5 or 6 eggs
- avocado – sliced
- cilantro – chopped
- scallion – sliced
- salt & pepper
Heat olive oil in a cast iron skillet. Add shallot and sauté until translucent. Add garlic and red chile flakes and cook for an additional minute. Add tomatoes, pinto beans, epazote, cumin, and salt to taste. Simmer and stir gently for about 10 minutes as the sauce thickens.
Crack eggs over the tomato mixture. Cover and cook over low heat until the whites are set and the yolk are still sunny, about 10 minutes. Remove from heat. Top with avocado, season with salt and fresh ground pepper, garnish with cilantro and scallion.
Kick Off Summer Grilling
Try my Lamb Leg Steaks recipe that was recently featured on BuzzFeed, here.
15 Grill Recipes That Will Take You Straight To Meat Heaven on BuzzFeed here.
And finally, my friends at Food Network at featuring some excellent Memorial Day fare:
The Lemon Bowl: Greek Pasta Salad
Creative Culinary: French Potato Salad with Mustard and Fines Herbes
Napa Farmhouse 1885: Three Spring Vegetable Bruschetta Recipes For A Memorial Day Feast
In Jennie’s Kitchen: Pulled Pork & Cabbage Salad
Feed Me Phoebe: Herb Marinated Steak Gyros Plates with Tomato-Onion Salad and Green Tahini Sauce
Devour: Red, White and Blue Sides for a Patriotic Memorial Day Picnic
Healthy Eats: 6 Veggie-Packed Sides for a Lighter Memorial Day Feast
Elephants and the Coconut Trees: Pineapple and Shrimp Fried Rice
Taste with the Eyes: Holiday Weekend Brunch: Shakshuka with Avocado, Epazote, Pinot Beans
The Wimpy Vegetarian: Healthy Mexican Casserole
FN Dish: 6 Memorial Day Sides That’ll Get More Attention Than the Mains