Today the man who can usually be found behind the Wellcuisine camera has his say: Thommi. At home he is not only the “Chef de Marmelade” (he can simply cook the best jams), but he is also famous for his salad dressings, makes really good pasta and cheats an extra portion of spices or white wine in my saucepan when I’m not looking. Since we first had Shakshuka in an Israeli friend’s restaurant, Thommi has gradually refined his own Shakshuka recipe at home – and now he’s the best and only Shakshuka master in our house too.
Now the time has come: my first time. My debut. My first public post here on Wellcuisine. Otherwise I just snap the pictures and take care of the paperwork behind the scenes. And of course I often cook for us, especially at lunchtime (because my loved one speaks a lot with customers and business partners then.) Something simple, quick, delicious. With the things that we have in the pantry. That is my strength: I can make something good out of everything. Not because I cook particularly well or even learned the craft, no, because I am good at seasoning a recipe. I always have a clear idea of how a dish should taste. In my mouth, on my tongue, in my head. This is important. Because life in general and food in particular needs a direction. Needs flavor, seasoning and juice. So: salt, pepper and lemon. And a glass of Chardonnay with it.
If you know how to season well, you actually save any meal. I am completely with Tim Mälzer. He isn’t subtle and no virtuoso, but he knows how to season his food so it tastes delicious. He loves to eat too, you can see that in his body shape. The founder of Schär, the market leader for gluten-free foods from South Tyrol, recently asked my wife whether her husband would have at least a little stomach with all the delicacies she creates, bakes, cooks and tests? What a sweet question, don’t you think? I’ll only tell you this much: All scientific studies in the world come to the conclusion that it’t neither the very thin nor the fat who live the best and longest, but those who have a modest amount of fat on their ribs. I knew it. I’m not made for extremes. Too strict. No flow. And when nothing flows, the body, mind and life harden.
But back to the meal. To the spices that I love and use. All you really need is the right mix between salty, sweet, sour and spicy. The more balanced, the better. So we need something sweet first. I tolerate maple syrup or birch sugar best because they don’t raise my blood sugar level so quickly. And I think it helps a lot to always have vegetable broth in the house. My favorite: “Brodo” by Rapunzel. Then I need a hot spice mixture as an alternative to pepper, which I can use sparely: Chilli powder, garlic, parsley, salt and chervil are best mixed together. Borghini’s Selezione Oro, preparato per Spaghettata Piccante. It couldn’t be better – a perfect blend of spices. For dressings, I always make a lot of jam and use it as a counterpart to sugar, balancing out the acidity of the apple cider vinegar and giving the dressing a fruity note. Sometimes with fig, but mostly with orange or tangerine jam. Together with olive oil, it gives the salad dressing a delicious, creamy consistency. I think dressings can always be a little too strong. Together with the washed and still slightly wet lettuce, it will be perfect.
And now to my dish, which I often eat for breakfast, sometimes as an early lunch. Shakshuka– a specialty of North African and Jewish cuisine – consists of poached eggs in a sauce of tomatoes, chili peppers and onions. The dish, which is considered a national dish in Israel and is mainly eaten there for breakfast, probably comes from North Africa, such as Tunisia, Algeria and Egypt. The good thing about this food: it is low in carbohydrates. I don’t tolerate and metabolize carbohydrates well, especially in the morning. They stress my pancreas quickly because the stuff is instantly converted to sugar. I’m also gluten and fructose intolerant and have always had to see how I can get along without cereals, without bread, croissants (Schniff!), Muesli and fruit. This leaves me with protein, vegetables, and egg dishes. In my Shakshuka, I replace the chilli peppers with red peppers because I don’t like it that spicy. In addition, the small pieces of pepper in the overcooked tomato and onion sauce give the whole thing a bit of bite. You can also cut in carrots, eggplant or zucchini, depending on what you have in stock. Not too much. Maybe a fifth, or a quarter compared to the amount of tomatoes. I take fresh tomatoes. Canned tomatoes work too. And the most important thing: When you finally beat the eggs in – just like fried eggs – then you have to mix the egg white with the tomato sauce. It’s best to use the end of a wooden spoon. And then stir the egg white with the red mass around the egg yolk. Dr. Shakshuka in Tel Aviv, who is considered the master of this dish, repeatedly draws an infinite, recumbent figure eight in the egg white with a spoon. Nice thought.
And this is how it’s done:
- 5 tbsp olive oil
- 1 small piece of butter
- 1 small red onion peeled and finely chopped
- 1 tsp salt
- 400 g tomatoes stalk removed and diced
- 1/2 red bell pepper finely diced
- 1 tsp maple syrup
- 1 tsp paprika powder sweet sweet
- Cayenne pepper or chilli to taste I use a pinch of Selezione Oro
- 4 organic eggs
- some rocket to serve optional
- Heat the olive oil and butter in a pan. Add the chopped onion and cook for about 3–5 minutes. Salt.
- Add diced peppers, tomatoes and maple syrup and simmer for about 8 minutes, until the liquid has boiled down a little and a creamy sauce is formed. Season to taste with paprika powder and cayenne pepper or chilli.
- Crack the eggs on the edge of the pan and let the insides slide carefully into the sauce one after the other. The yolks should stay whole. With the end of a wooden spoon, stir the egg whites in circular motions (the figure eight) with the tomato sauce, taking care not to touch the egg yolks. Cover the pan and wait about 3–4 minutes until the egg yolks are no longer translucent. Be careful that the yolks do not have a white coating and set. They should stay soft like a fried egg.
- Carefully distribute the Shakshuka on two plates without damaging the egg yolk. Optionally sprinkle with a little rocket and serve immediately.