Well, I'm semi-bbq-less for the summer (I have access to a hibachi, but I've been too lazy to get charcoal and use it in our limited-space-sublet thus far). So I'm exploring my non-bbq options for a few days. And while I'm doing that, why not explore my meatless options. Yes. It's true. I'm cooking vegetarian tonight.
I found this book Plenty in the Harvard COOP (incidentally, the best food section of any bookstore ever - just sayin'). It's a vegetarian book. But it's my kind of vegetarian book. In the intro it says:
The New Vegetarian (the author's column) ... made some Guardian readers extremely unhappy to learn that the new vegetarian wasn't a vegetarian at all. A couple of angry letters to the editor stick in my mind and an incident where I suggested serving a salad with some barbecued lamb chops.A vegetarian cookbook that suggests serving vegetarian fare next to lamb chops? This is my veggie book. Yes, yes it is. This is a book with bold flavours and fun dishes. I've already cooked several dishes out of this book, and will blog about them soon. This is a book of deliciousness.
Tonight, we serve Shakshuka. A delicious Tunisian mix of tomatoes, herbs and eggs. This one seems like it's going off the rails right up until serving time, when it comes together into a delicious mess of eggs and veggies. Yum.
We start with:
¼ tsp cumin seedsToast the cumin seeds for 2 minutes in a dry pan over high heat until fragrant. You don't want them bitter, so take care not to over-toast. Pour in the oil and toss in the onion.
1⁄3 cup olive oil
1 large onion, sliced into rings
1 red bell pepper, cut into strips
1 yellow bell pepper, cut into strips
2 tsp muscovado sugar
1 bay leaf
3 thyme sprigs, leaves picked and chopped
1 tbsp chopped parsley
1 tbsp chopped cilantro, plus extra for garnish
3 large ripe tomatoes, roughly chopped (or 6-7 small tomatoes)
1⁄8 tsp saffron threads
large pinch cayenne
salt and pepper to taste
Cook the onion 3-5 minutes. Add the peppers, thyme, parsley and cilantro and sugar. Cook over high heat for 5-10 minutes, or until the peppers and onions start to take on some colour. The browned onions and peppers will flavour this dish.
Turn down the heat to low. Toss in the cayenne, saffron, salt and pepper.
Toss in the coarsely chopped tomatoes and the bay leaf.
Simmer over low heat for 15 minutes. Add water to keep the consistency about a thick pasta-sauce consistency. Taste and adjust the seasoning as appropriate (I added a lot of salt to this to get it right).
Remove the bay leaf, and transfer to a shallow pan over low heat. Make 4 wells in the sauce and put one egg in each well. Cover, and continue to cook until the eggs set (about 8 minutes for me).
Garnish with chopped cilantro, and serve with a bright white wine..
This was surprisingly good. I've adjusted it to dial back the saffron a bit, but otherwise this is a fantastic dish. Bright and flavourful. Rich from the soft egg yolks. And messy. Really, really messy to serve.
We'll be serving this again.
By Bbq Dude