August tomatoes shine in this speedy shakshuka recipe

The best way to enjoy a fresh-off-the-vine, still-hot-from-the-sun summer tomato is sliced thick and sandwiched between mayonnaise-slathered white bread with plenty of salt and pepper. The second best way, once you’ve stained all of your summer whites with tomato juice, is some version of shakshuka, or eggs in purgatory, or whatever you’d like to call eggs poached in tomato sauce.

Yes, it is cooked, but it is cooked quickly enough that you won’t heat up your whole house. And the freshness of an August tomato takes a dish that is otherwise just fine and turns it into a stunner.

There are plenty of ways to play with this base recipe; here, you’ll find a one-two punch of earthy smokiness from marinated roasted red peppers and smoked paprika, but you could just as well use fresh peppers and a green herb such as thyme or oregano if you’d prefer.

The technique is the same any way you flavor it: Coat a large skillet with olive oil, add a small sliced onion and saute until it is just starting to brown. Next, add your seasonings and let them bloom (aka cook until they’re fragrant), then add in a heap of diced tomatoes, chopped peppers and, if you’re using marinated peppers, all of the juice from the jar. Let it all simmer until the tomatoes collapse into themselves and transform into a chunky sauce. When you’re happy with the sauce, gently crack in one egg per person, spacing them as evenly apart as you can. Season the eggs, cover the skillet, and let the eggs gently poach until the whites are set.

An extra drizzle of olive oil over the top is requisite; a smattering of fresh green herbs or baby arugula is nice if you’ve got them. Serve the whole thing straight out of the skillet with a bowl full of hot, toasted pita bread to soak up all of the summery tomato sauce. Follow it up with another tomato sandwich tomorrow.


Tomatoes are in season -- who wants pie? 

Read the AJC Spring Dining Guide: The Atlanta barbecue issue

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