In 2010, I had the opportunity with my college to take an ancient history tour to Tunisia and Sicily. We would begin our trip in Tunis, make our way around the country looking at Roman ruins, and then take a 12 hour ferry ride from the capital to Palermo, Sicily. Prior to this trip, I had never really encountered Tunisian food. I was pleasantly surprised when we arrived that I loved most of the food. Olive oil has ancient roots in Tunisia, as the Romans brought olive trees from Greece and planted them around the country. The country also has developed a delicious tradition of food ranging from dishes of chicken and chickpeas, to shakshuka.
In the cookbook, Jerusalem, Yotam Ottolenghi, states that this breakfast dish has become incredibly popular in Jerusalem in the spring and summer months. Seeing as we are in the beginning of the summer heat and humidity here in Richmond, I figured I would give his recipe a try. It got the husband seal of approval as he went back for more.
- 2 red peppers
- 2 tsp tomato paste
- 2 tbsp harissa (in Richmond VA I purchased this at whole foods)
- 4 cloves of garlic
- 1 tsp cumin
- 5 large very ripe tomatoes - canned are also fine.
- 4 eggs (including the yokes)
- 1/2 cup labneh (I got this at whole foods) or a very thick yogurt
- Step 1 Heat olive oil in a pan over medium heat and add the harissa, tomato paste, peppers, garlic, cumin, and 3/4 tsp salt. Stir over medium heat until the peppers soften (around 8 minutes).
- Step 2 Add the tomatoes and bring to a gentle simmer. Cook for around 10 minutes or until you have a thick sauce- taste for seasoning.
- Step 3 Make dips in the sauce and gently break the eggs. Poor the eggs into their own little dip. Simmer for 8-10 minutes or until the whites are set but the yokes are still runny.
- Step 4 Remove from the heat and allow to sit for a couple of minutes before serving.
- Step 5 Add labneh or yogurt and serve.