I’ve heard it’s North African, or Middle-Eastern and it’s definitely very popular in Israel. Whatever it is, it’s a hearty breakfast, lunch or dinner. The first time I had shakshuska was in an Israeli run diner in Rockaway. I asked the waitress what it was and the way she described it sold me. It was served in a small cast iron pan right from the stove. You can’t get just anywhere so I started making it myself. This is similar to Eggs in Purgatory.
Start by frying the onion, red pepper, and chili in olive oil. Cook until edges start to turn brown. Pay attention and don’t let it burn.
Add garlic and cook for about a minute. Mix in the paprika and cumin and add the tomatoes. Simmer for about 10 minutes, check for seasoning and add the parsley.
The sauce should be thick enough to make five indentations in it using a spoon. Break an egg into each one. Cover and reduce the heat and cook it until egg are done.
As we were driving through Massachusetts recently, I glanced to the side of the road and when I saw it, couldn’t resist stopping at the Yankee Diner. It looked like a classic and it was. The staff were friendly and professional and the food was cheap and good.
It’s located at 16 Worcester Rd, Charlton, MA. Their hours are 6 am to 2 pm, Saturday to Thursday. They stay open until 8pm on Friday night when they make a dinner special and it’s BYOB. When we passed through the special was prime ribs.
Eggs Two Ways – I hope you weren’t expecting scrambled and fried.
Eggs in Purgatory
This one is fairly simple. Start with left-over tomato sauce, the thicker the better. Pre-heat the over to 400 degrees. Heat the sauce in a frying pan large enough to hold as many eggs as you want to cook. Use the back of a spoon to make indentations in the sauce and break the eggs into the indentations. 10-12 minutes in the oven and it’s done. Sprinkle a little cheese and serve.
Potato and Egg Frittata
A classic meatless Friday lunch. It’s good with a little ketchup.
Heat the oil in a cast iron skillet on medium-high and add the thickly sliced potatoes, salt and black pepper. After they cook for about 8-10 minutes add the onion. After the onion softens, with the edge of a metal spatula, chop and blend the potatoes and onions making an even mixture. Cook until the potatoes are tender and what you have looks like home fries.
In the meantime beat the eggs with the milk, parsley and salt and black pepper. Add the egg mixture to the pan, mix thoroughly with the potatoes and onions then spread it out to an even layer. Lower the heat and allow it to set for about 5 minutes. The top of the mixture will still be wet so place the pan under the broiler for a few minutes, watching closely so it doesn’t burn. Remove it when the top is lightly browned.
The omelet can be served in the pan, hot or at room temperature. Slice as you would a pie.
We were on our way to the Williamsburg Flea Market yesterday when we came across Fabbrica Restaurant & Bar. We were hungry and it was the first restaurant we came to when we got off the ferry (N. 6th St. and Kent Ave.) It was a fortuitous find, crowded but with room at the bar.
Their menu changes throughout the day – breakfast, brunch, lunch, late-lunch, etc. I was lucky to get there when Purgatorio was on it. That’s not Dante’s poem but eggs cooked in tomato sauce. It was the first time I’d ever seen it in a restaurant. My mother made it as a standard Monday lunch, using left over Sunday gravy. She called it Eggs in Purgatory.
I looked at the dinner menu and will definitely go back – hearty Italian food, interesting industrial décor, friendly service and pet-friendly too (dogs at the bar and outdoor tables).
Taken verbatim from the 1861 Book of Household Management, by Isabella Beeton, Chapter XXXIII. Milk, Butter, Cheese and Eggs. I followed the “Mode” exactly, whisking over low heat until it thickened. The flavor was reminiscent of eggs Benedict. My father’s version of Scotch Woodcock is scrambling eggs with anchovies and milk, frying in butter and serving it on toast (see below). He said Scotch Woodcock was a late night snack that used to be served at bars in the 1930s and 40s along with Welch Rarebit.
My father’s recipe:
Sauté five or six chopped anchovies in four pats of butter and then add 1/4 cup of milk. Let it rest off the heat for about five minutes. Reheat, add four scrambled eggs and cook until done. Serve it on toast, salt and pepper.
I found an interesting old cookbook called, A PLAIN COOKERY BOOK FOR THE WORKING CLASSES. It was written by Charles Elme Francatelli in 1861. He was ‘Maitre d’Hotel and Chief Cook to Her Gracious Majesty Queen Victoria,’ – pretty good credentials. A recipe that caught my attention was for Egg-Hot. It’s a sort of unusual beer cocktail. Here it is verbatim: I didn’t think this was something I could order at a local bar so I tried it myself. I tried it more than once. I made it with Brooklyn Lager and Sam Adams Boston Lager – both worked very well. I don’t think a beer like Corona or Bud would stand up to this recipe. I used a small sauce pan to heat the beer and a stoneware mug for the mixing. Adding ‘a drop of beer’ tempers the egg so it stays liquid and doesn’t scramble. I followed the instructions precisely and finished with a hearty mixture that was almost a meal. I think it would make a great winter drink comparable to Irish coffee.
My Calabrese grandfather used to have Marsala and an egg for breakfast. He’d just break an egg into a glass of Marsala and drink it without mixing or cooking it. He didn’t use a cocktail glass either.
Marsala Flip – a drink similar to both zabaglione (see below) and my grandfather’s breakfast.
One whole egg
Two ice cubes
Three ounces sweet Marsala
Put the ingredients in a blender and mix until smooth and creamy. A flip is a cocktail that’s been around for a long time. This is a simple version of it. You can also use port or sherry. Add sugar if you’re using something that isn’t sweet i.e. brandy or bourbon.
6 egg yolks
1 cup sweet Marsala
½ cup sugar
Put all the ingredients in a double boiler and whisk over medium heat until foamy. I use an old fashioned crank egg beater. It’s faster. Serve it hot or cold for dessert in a cocktail glass as is or with some berries on top.