Difficulty: Easy but labor intensive
Shakhshukhas are a kind of ratatouille from North Africa made with vegetables as well as eggs. In fact, in Algeria and Tunisia especially, there are countless ways of making shakhshukha. Although many food writers consider shakhshukha to be a quintessential North African vegetable dish the word shakhshukha is not an Arabic word, but a Turkish one and the dish appears to derive from the nearly identical Turkish dish called menemen. It probably found its way from Turkey to the western Mediterranean either during the Ottoman era or perhaps as a natural occurrence of traveling merchants. There is one essential element to a shakhshukha: they are always made with many eggs.
[photo: Clifford A. Wright]
Yield: Makes 6 servings
Preparation Time: 1:40 hours
1.Place the peppers on a wire rack over a burner on high heat and roast until their skins blister black on all sides, turning occasionally with tongs. Remove the peppers and place in a paper or heavy plastic bag to steam for 20 minutes, which will make them easier to peel. When cool enough to handle, rub off as much blackened peel as you can and remove the seeds by rubbing with a paper towel (to avoid washing away flavorful juices) or by rinsing under running water (to remove more easily). Roast the tomatoes only until their skins crack.
2. Once cool enough to handle, peel the peppers and tomatoes and remove the seeds. Cut the peppers into strips and the tomatoes into rounds.
3. In a large casserole, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat, then add the eggplant rounds and cook until light golden, about 4 minutes, turning only once. Remove the eggplant rounds with a slotted ladle and let the oil cool significantly, about 20 minutes with the heat turned off.
4. Turn the heat to low, then add the zucchini, peppers, tomatoes, garlic, and parsley, season with salt, pepper, and cayenne pepper, reduce the heat to low, cover, and simmer until most of the liquid is evaporated, about 30 minutes. Add the eggplants to the casserole.5. Season the eggs with a little salt and pepper and a few tablespoons of the broth from the casserole. Raise the heat to high for a minute, then pour the eggs into the casserole and cook until they set, about 6 minutes, folding, not stirring. Serve hot.