‘Strange days have found us’, as the old song goes. And it goes on : ‘They’re going to destroy / Our casual joys’… we try not! . We stay at home, stroll in the near-by hill, telework, homeschool and cook something nice. We try to keep the calories balance under control and enjoy what we eat, so why not a greek-style shakshuka? We hope that you have some good eggs stocked!
The egg is a frequent occurrence in cosmological myths, probably not only because it bears life, but also because of its shape and nutritional value. Out of the primeval forces that created the world according to the orphic cosmogony the cosmic egg is the first mention of something edible. In order to appreciate its importance, consider the forces: Chaos, Earth, Heaven, Ocean, Time and Water. In a sense the Egg is excelled to the sphere of theological, cosmological and philosophical contemplation.
Our recipe is more related to a more peasant and medieval association of the egg to the supernatural: the Italian ‘Uova in Purgatorio’, a napoletanian version of the shakshuka, in which case the eggs represent souls surrounded by flames in the Purgatory. It sounds macabre, but wait until you delve into the details of the bizarre ‘Cult of the dead’, an 17th century spin-off of the catholic faith that inspired the name of the dish and numerous shrines in the street of Naples.
Our other reference is to the ‘kayianna’, a rural version of scrambled eggs with tomatoes from western Greece.
We think that in our recipe we stroke a good balance of the ingredients – needless to say that their quality can make or brake this simple and very delicious dish. Of course you can experiment and use whatever is of the season or available in the fridge, as we did when a friend (thank you Katerina) supplied us with several kilos of zucchini from her vegetable garden in Nemea.
Serves 2 as a main dish, or 4 as a starter
- 4 Tbsp olive oil
- 2 onions, peeled and finely sliced
- 1 green bell pepper, finely sliced
- 1 red bell pepper, finely sliced
- 1/2-1 tsp dried chilli flakes (depending on your spice tolerance)
- 1 clove garlic, peeled and finely chopped
- 230g cherry tomatoes (about 20-23), finely sliced
- 80g feta cheese, crumbled
- 1 Tbsp capers
- 4 eggs
- sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 2 Tbsp chopped parsley or basil leaves or 1 pinch dried oregano
Place a large pan on medium heat with the olive oil and cook the onions and peppers for about 8-10 minutes, add the garlic (and the chilli flakes-if using) and cook for 2 more minutes stirring regularly. Add the sliced cherry tomatoes, bring to a boil stirring carefully, then lower the heat and let simmer covered for about 10 minutes.
Remove the lid, stir in the chopped parsley leaves ( or basil leaves or dried oregano) and season with a pinch of sea salt, then add the crumbled feta and the capers.
Make 4 wells with the back of a spoon, crack in the eggs, cover the pan and cook the eggs until the egg whites are set but the yolks are still running.
Sprinkle the top of the eggs with some sea salt and freshly ground pepper.
Serve with fresh sourdough bread.