‘15 cloves of garlic, crushed’ and ‘200g of tomato puree’, you would be forgiven in thinking that these two ingredients were part of some big batch cook for a party, not for a light brunch dish for four. I can assure you they are not a typo. I was intrigued by the unorthodox ingredients for making Honey & Co.’s Red Shakshuka (at least in my experience) but trust that Honey & Co.’s Sarit Packer and Itamar Srulovich know their flavours.
I’m not averse to a lot of garlic, I’ve been known to smear whole bulbs of caramelised garlic on toast to make a heady garlic bread; and Nigella’s Chicken and 40 cloves of garlic is a retro dinner party standard in my house.
Containing no vegetables to chop, this Red Shakshuka was the smoothest and fastest to prepare shakshuka I have ever made. I’m currently attempting to improve my mise en place in the kitchen (aka. Getting your sh*t together). I squeezed the whole tomato puree into one bowl; ground the caraway seeds in the pestle and mortar before spooning the rest of the spice mix on top and crushed 15 cloves of garlic. There wasn’t much else to do.
When my brunch guest arrived, the recipe came together incredibly fast. Fry garlic for 2 mins, add the spices and cook for 1 min, add the tomato puree and cook for another two, add lemon juice followed by a pint of water and cook for ten minutes. I found a little whisk helped to get the tomato puree incorporated with the water quickly. After the ten minutes of simmering, the glossy brick-red sauce was thick and smooth. At this point you could save the sauce for another time or get cracking your eggs into the mix. I prefer to crack my eggs into a measuring cup first. I find they hold their shape better in the pan. After 3-5 mins, the eggs are just set and we are ready to get dipping our tasty sesame seed flatbread from the Middle Eastern supermarket.
With 5 minutes of prep and an easy 20 minutes of cooking, this Red Shakshuka might be the second easiest dish of its ilk I have ever made (Nigella’s Eggs in Purgatory are number 1), but they can’t match this Honey & Co. recipe for it’s flavour. The potent spice blend of caraway, cumin, cayenne, cinnamon and smoked paprika has a punch of flavour – musky, warm and sweet and savoury in equal measure. Next time I think I’d double the quantities of the sauce, not that its difficult or time consuming but to remove any barrier to eating this dish as soon (and as much) as possible.