For Nitzan Cohen, executive chef at Vancouver’s new Lil Bird Sandwich Co., certain recipes and flavours define family and legacy.
“This recipe brings me back to my childhood on Saturday mornings in my hometown in Israel, sitting down with the family and exchanging stories about the past week over good food,” he explains. “And this particular shakshuka showcases so many great local ingredients, it’s a way to bring those family traditions here as well as a wonderful way to educate my kids about cooking and their heritage. I look forward to continuing these traditions for many more years to come.”
Nitzan Cohen’s Shakshuka
1 yellow onion, sliced thin
1/2 cup olive oil
1/4 cup white sugar
Salt and pepper to taste
1/2 jalapeño, sliced and seeded
5-6 garlic cloves
10 Roma tomatoes (use in-season tomatoes when available); cut into cubes
2 red peppers, sliced thin
Optional: goat feta, cilantro, and tahini
In a deep pan, heat the oil and sauté the onion. Season with a little salt, pepper, and sugar, and cook until golden.
Add the jalapeño and the garlic cloves, and cook for 1 minute.
Add the red peppers and sauté.
Season again with salt, pepper, and sugar, and continue cooking for about 15-20 minutes (stir every 3 minutes) until everything is caramelized.
Turn heat to high and add the tomatoes.
Season with salt, pepper, and sugar, and cook on high heat while mixing for about 5 minutes.
Bring to boil, add a splash of water, mix, and simmer about 45 minutes to 1 hour while mixing every 10 minutes and smashing the tomatoes.
Different tomatoes bring different levels of sweetness and acidity so remember to taste and add more salt, pepper and/or sugar, as needed.
When you are happy with the tomato base, create small holes in it around the pan and crack the eggs into them.
If you want, you may add chunks of goat feta around, as well.
Cover the pan and cook on medium heat for 4-6 minutes (so the yolks remain runny). Remove lid and top with chopped cilantro and tahini.
Best served with fresh challah bread or toasted sourdough.
Read more fresh local recipes in Food and Drink.