Babushka? No, Shakshuka!

You know those people who skip breakfast because they’re “not hungry?” I am not one of those people. I take breakfast very seriously. Most mornings I wake up and have a small muesli with fruit, before heading out for yoga or a run. After said exercise, I’m starving. (That’s not too unusual, as I’m hungry approximately 90% of my waking hours.) Time for my favorite meal of the day… SECOND BREAKFAST.

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TEAM Second Breakfast

Also called brunch, Second Breakfast is the term I use for my midday meal, normally containing some form of eggs, and enjoyed on the terrace with a fresh cup of coffee. Lucky for me, my other half, Kris, is also very passionate about Second Breakfast. His omelettes are worthy of blue ribbons, and he uses everything from pesto to pumpkin seeds to pimp his huevos. But every now and then, I take charge of the eggs. More specifically, I take charge of the eggs the morning after pizza night. Wildly specific, I know, but the morning after pizza night means one thing…leftover pizza sauce.

I’m weird about expiration dates, and I don’t trust a lingering sauce in the refrigerator, so I always like to use the leftover pizza sauce the next day. Conveniently, leftover pizza sauce begs to be transformed into one of my favorite Second Breakfast dishes, known as Shakshuka!

I was introduced to Shakshuka while working at Westville in New York. More on Westville later, but all you need to know is it’s run by Israelis, and Shakshuka was always a brunch special when I was a server at the Hudson branch. I wanted to steal that cast iron skillet of tomato-ey goodness every time I brought it to a table.

“Ok, ok, we understand you like this thing with a weird name. Now tell us what is is!”

Shakshuka is a pan of spiced tomato sauce with perfect little pockets filled with eggs, all swimming together as one happy family. I like to eat it with toasted bread to soak up the sauce, but besides that, I’d say it’s open to interpretation. I follow no distinct recipes for Shakshuka, and I’m grateful to have zero relatives from any sunny, middle-eastern country, as they’d probably be rolling in their graves over my use of pizza sauce. But, I’m tellin’ ya, it works. How? Take a peek!

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Grab a pan.

A big one.

Now, put some olive oil in the pan and throw in some minced garlic, onion, and a chopped bell pepper. Let them all be friends for a few minutes before adding a chopped fresh tomato, if you have one, and then spicing it all up with salt, pepper, paprika, cumin and anything else that makes sense to you. Sometimes I add chili, for some excitement. Now, pour in the pizza sauce, and get everything simmering together. Make a cup of coffee, as the simmering will take time.

“Slow and Low” as my mom would say.

Once the sauce starts to thicken a bit, use a spoon to make small pockets in the sauce, and fill the pockets with cracked eggs. It feels weird, but I promise you, it will work. I normally make pockets for about five eggs. Cover the pan, and let the eggs cook until the yoke is your desired consistency. If you’re feeling fancy, throw some feta cheese on top, or add some olives into the mix. Should you be a person who likes garnishing, sprinkle the top with parsley.

And that’s it! Bam. Done. Spoon your masterpiece into a bowl, attack it with some fresh bread, and enjoy your morning knowing that you made the most of that pizza sauce. So raise your cup of coffee, and cheers to us, pizza sauce non-wasters!