The history of Shakshuka is lost somewhere around the Mediterranean and it doesn’t need much for an introduction, while as the recipe evolves constantly it has also become an experimental favorite. As each version takes a slightly different approach to the dish depending on locality and available products, In Corfu, this dish is named just as ‘eggs with sauce’ and probably draws its origin from the Jewish community of the town.
The reason I am including this recipe on this blog is that while it is such a genial recipe it is impossible to find it in a taverna or a restaurant on Corfu. Of course, a great deal of the Corfiot cooking is about the red sauces, so this recipe also falls under the same category of dishes revolving around the red sauce, either with tomato or relying just on sweet red paprika for its red color.
I remember when I was a kid during the summers, coming back after a long day at the beach this is what our grandmother used to cook for me and my cousins, together, of course, with french fries. Since then, this seems to me like the unsurpassable and ideal dish to quickly cook and eat after a demanding summer day. But, apart from being very easy and quick to cook and tasty, it is also a very versatile dish. You can have it also with rice or pasta, as you can make it into a “fancy” or extravagant dish by adding in it from pieces of nubulo (pork cured in wine and salt, a local delicacy) to make the perfect brunch, to more complicated tastes like fish roe, like bottarga, the would be accompanied ideally with a bottle of nice fruity rosé wine.
The beauty of it is its simplicity, basically, it is just poached eggs over a red sauce, and you only have to remember to put a cover over the pan or the pot if you do not want the eggs too runny. My favorite version is based on a very interesting ingredient that adds the perfect summer and sea taste; rock-samphire. Samphire is the ideal herb with a slightly lemony taste that works very well with the eggs, and you can either find it pickled in vinegar or in the wild, on rocky shores by the sea.
So, before getting to the use of samphire, a couple of words for the most indispensable element of the Corfiot cuisine, the red sauce! It could be just a couple of spoons of paprika over sizzling, caramelized onions, or it could be a couple of spoons of paprika over a couple of peeled tomatoes–the paprika, in any case, is indispensable.
For this recip[e you can use freshly cut samphire, or pickled samphire, but I generally prefer the fresh plant material. Please note that the samphire is tasting salty on its own, so there is no need for additional salt in that dish.
-50 ml of olive oil
-3 red peppers
-garlic at will
-1 zucchini cut into cubes
-a bit of cummin
-a whole spoon of paprika
-100 gr of samphire
-100-150 gr of feta thickly cut into cubes
-a bit of oregano or thyme
-Heat the oil in medium-high fire
-add the cut onion with the peppers and stir until caramelized
-add the zucchini cubes and onion and stir until starting to caramelize
-add the samphire and stir
-add the paprika and the cumin
-add the thinly cut tomatoes and a bit of water, lower the fire to medium and let it cook. Allow the mix to come to a boil for 10-15 minutes
-break and add the eggs right on top of the sauce
-add the cover and let it cook for about 5+ minutes
-a couple of minutes before the mix has reached the desired thickness add the feta cheese between the eggs. I couldn’t resist adding over the eggs and the feat cheese some freshly picked thyme
-remove from the fire and serve. This would be ideal with some nice thickly cut french fries, but rice or pasta, or even just plain bread will do as well. Enjoy!