Its hard when you're having a craving for a dish whose establishment is 2,000 miles away. Factor in that I'm 20 weeks pregnant and you've got a flavor itch that cannot be ignored. Such was the case for me on a recent Thursday evening after a long day of driving, doctors appointments and on-the-go eating. And one of my favorite Los Angeles spots was on my mind.
Near my old apartment in LA in the grungy/hipster-chic Fairfax Village stretch of West Hollywood is this great little Mediterranean dine-in/take-out place called the PIta Bar and Grill. They offer a plethora of popular Greek dishes (falafel, gyros) combined with lesser-known (well, to this American at least) Middle Eastern favorites. And their homemade Shakshouka was one of my favorite go-to's after a long day.
Shaksh-what, you say? Shakshouka is a hearty dish of eggs poached in a sauce that is traditionally composed of tomatoes, chili peppers, onions, and cumin. Believed to be Tunisian in origin, it can also be found as a main dish in most Egyptian, Libyan, Algerian, Israeli and Moroccan households. It is served as a main entree or as a side, and is enjoyed often for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. I love it for a variety of reasons, mainly because I'm a sucker for eggs with a runny yolk and its a comforting meal that is vegetarian (well, depending on what your definition of vegetarian is) yet flavorful. I love eating it on top of pita bread and hummus, or over cannellini beans drizzled with olive oil.
Never tried it? Well unless you can high-tail it over to the Pita Bar on Fairfax, I highly recommend this recipe I found on The Shiksa in the Kitchen for a more traditional take on this flavor-spot hitter. I was in the mood for a more basic version of this dish, but it can accommodate any combination of veggies that you desire (carrots and swiss chard would be fantastic; corn and chipotle peppers would be another fun variety). I also added a sprinkle of feta cheese with some extra parsley. Yum!