Photo by Daniel Sambraus via Getty Images

Easy and green

Rebecca Firkser
February 07, 2018

When you strip it down, shakshuka is essentially just eggs cooked in tomato sauce—not unlike eggs in purgatory or a million other culturally specific permutations. And while this may sound like something a college kid makes at 3 a.m., I feel strongly that if you’re not already making North African or Israeli-style shakshuka on the regular, you need to cancel your plans for tonight and start now. Shakshuka is simple. It’s filling. It actually qualifies as a “pantry meal”. However, as life is filled with uncertainties, there have come times that I’ve walked into my cabinet to discover no crushed tomatoes. Instead of abandoning shakshuka-hope (or worse, putting on pants to go to the store), I go to the other side of the color wheel: I make green shakshuka

The dish simultaneously curbs the severe stomach grumbles that surface on lazy a weekend morning and cleans my fridge of the three pounds of leafy greens I bought on Monday and then promptly forgot about until just now. What could be better?

Drop a wide skillet on your stove and heat a few tablespoons of olive oil over medium. Roughly chop a large white onion and mince a few cloves of garlic, then toss into the pan. While the onion and garlic sizzles, dice 5 tomatillos, thinly slice a green bell pepper, and mince a seeded jalapeno. If I have a bulb of fennel laying around, I’ll slice that up as well. Note that if you don’t have tomatillos, but do have a bunch of regular red tomatoes you should feel free to use those bad boys instead. Your shakshuka won’t be strictly green, but don’t we all have bigger problems? 

Once the onions are translucent, stir in the tomatillos, pepper, jalapeno, and fennel if using. Add a few good pinches of kosher salt, a few grinds of black pepper, and a teaspoon each of cumin and za’atar.

Next, wash and chop a veritable mountain of leafy greens. Believe me when I tell you that anything goes: kale, Swiss chard, collards, mustard greens, radish tops, spinach, any and all of the above. Greens have this magic ability to shrink down to the size of whatever pan they’re cooked in, so whether you have half a bunch of lacinato kale or the entire contents of your local farmers market’s greens table, you can make it work. Pile the greens into the pan and top with a lid to help the vegetables wilt. If you’re using more than four cups of greens, do this in shifts. Once the greens are mostly wilted, stir in 1 cup salsa verde.

Lower the heat and make a bunch of wells in the mixture (as many wells as eggs you plan to cook). Crack however many eggs you like (plan on 2 eggs per person, unless you are very hungry and want more) into the wells and replace the lid on the pan. Let the eggs steam for 5-7 minutes, or until the yolks are cooked to your preference. Meanwhile, toast some bread or naan, slice an avocado, and roughly chop any fresh herbs you have hanging around.

When the eggs are cooked, scoop shakshuka into shallow bowls (ladle it directly over the toast or naan if you know what’s good for you) and top with chopped herbs, avocado, and crumbled feta or goat cheese.

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