Simple Egg Yolk Shakshuka

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I learned how to make an egg yolk shakshuka from Mourad Lahlou, the famous San Francisco chef originally from Morocco.

As Mourad sees it, the egg whites in a shakshuka merely imprison the yolks, preventing them from gushing gleefully into the sauce, mingling freely with the peppers, tomatoes, and spices.

Here, the merest tip of a fork releases the yolks’ richness without any whites holding them back. Flavored with preserved lemon (if you’ve got it) and goat cheese, this is more decadent and more complex than the usual shakshuka.

Be sure to save the whites to use in meringues and buttercreams; they will keep in the freezer for up to a year.

Thinking Ahead

Tomato sauce: You can make the sauce (through step 2) up to 4 days in advance and store it, covered, in the refrigerator. Warm it in a skillet over low heat before adding the fresh herbs, goat cheese, and eggs.

SERVES 4

Ingredients

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 large white onion, diced
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 (28-ounce) can diced tomatoes
2 red, orange, or yellow bell peppers, or a combination, roasted (see this page)
2 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme leaves
1 teaspoon fine sea salt, plus more to taste
¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more to taste
1½ teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon sweet paprika
½ teaspoon ground turmeric
⅛ teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 tablespoon minced preserved lemon (optional) or 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley leaves
1 tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro or mint leaves, plus tender sprigs for garnish
4 ounces (1 cup) goat cheese, crumbled while still cold
6 large egg yolks, room temperature
Grilled or toasted bread, for serving

Ingredients

In a 12-inch skillet, heat the oil over medium heat. Stir in the onion and cook until it is starting to brown, 7 to 10 minutes, reducing the heat if necessary to prevent burning.

Stir in the garlic and cook for another minute, until fragrant. Stir in the tomatoes and their juices, the peppers and any reserved pepper juices, thyme, salt, black pepper, cumin, paprika, turmeric, and cayenne. Simmer over low heat until reduced by a third, 15 to 25 minutes.

Stir in the preserved lemon if using. Taste and adjust the seasoning if necessary.

Stir in the parsley and cilantro, and scatter the goat cheese across the sauce. Slip the yolks into the skillet. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Cover the skillet with a lid or a baking sheet, and cook over low heat until the yolks are barely solid but still runny, 2 to 5 minutes. Serve immediately, garnished with cilantro or mint sprigs, with grilled or toasted bread alongside for dipping.

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