Foolproof Shakshuka

INGREDIENTS – 2 tablespoons olive oil – 1 large yellow onion, chopped – 1 large red bell pepper or roasted red bell pepper, chopped – ¼ teaspoon fine sea salt – 3 cloves garlic, pressed or minced – 2 tablespoons tomato paste – 1 teaspoon ground cumin – ½ teaspoon smoked paprika – ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes (reduce or omit if sensitive to spice) – 1 large can (28 ounces) crushed tomatoes, preferably fire-roasted

– 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro or flat-leaf parsley, plus additional cilantro or parsley leaves for garnish – Freshly ground black pepper, to taste – 5 to 6 large egg – ½ cup crumbled feta – Crusty bread or pita, for serving

INSTRUCTIONS 1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Warm the oil in a large, oven-safe skillet (preferably stainless steel) over medium heat. 

Once shimmering, add the onion, bell pepper, and salt. Cook, stirring often, until the onions are tender and turning translucent, about 4 to 6 minutes.

Add the garlic, tomato paste, cumin, paprika, and red pepper flakes. Cook, stirring constantly, until nice and fragrant, 1 to 2 minutes.

Pour in the crushed tomatoes with their juices and add the cilantro. Stir, and let the mixture come to a simmer. Reduce the heat as necessary to maintain a gentle simmer, and cook for 5 minutes to give the flavors time to meld.

Turn off the heat. Taste (careful, it’s hot), and add salt and pepper as necessary. Use the back of a spoon to make a well near the perimeter and crack the egg directly into it. 

Gently spoon a bit of the tomato mixture over the whites to help contain the egg. Repeat with the remaining 4 to 5 eggs, depending on how many you can fit. Sprinkle a little salt and pepper over the eggs.

Carefully transfer the skillet to the oven (it’s heavy) and bake for 8 to 12 minutes, checking often once you reach 8 minutes.

They’re done when the egg whites are an opaque white and the yolks have risen a bit but are still soft. 

Using oven mitts (both hands!), transfer the hot skillet to a heat-safe surface like the stove. Top with the crumbled feta, fresh cilantro leaves, and more red pepper flakes, if desired.