Recently discovered this traditional North African favourite in Ottolenghi’s sumptuous vegetable cookbook Plenty.
It is commonly served in individual cast iron pans, which I imagine adding to the pleasure–one pan and ALL for ME!
It makes a pretty summer picture on the plate with a few green beans (gift from our neighbours, Hervé and Maite) to the side.
1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds–dry roasted in a medium pan
1 large onion–red or yellow–sliced
80ml/1/4 cup olive oil
2 red peppers--washed, deseeded and sliced thin
1 bay leaf, thyme leaves from a few sprigs, 2 tablespoons of parsley
3 large fresh ripe tomatoes or tinned–roughly chopped with the juices
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper and a pinch–a few strands–of saffron
1/4 cup/60 ml water
2 or 4 egg
salt and pepper
- Dry roast the cumin seeds for a minute or two, taking care not to burn them.
- Add the oil to the pan, then the onions and over a medium high heat cook them for 5 minutes to soften them.
- Add the peppers and the three herbs, turn everything over thoroughly.
- Cover the pan for 5 minutes to start the softening of the peppers.
- Cook a further 5 minutes uncovered.
- Add the tomatoes, the water–little by little to avoid diluting the sauce–and the two spices and season with salt and pepper.
- Cook for 15 minutes on a low heat–covering for a short time if you think the peppers need further softening.
- The result should be a lightly spicy sauce in which to poach the eggs.
- Carefully break the eggs ( 2 or 4–your choice) into the sauce–leaving space between them.
- Cover the pan and cook, over a lowish heat, until the eggs are cooked to your taste.