A Dish for Spring

Spring is just around the corner. The trees are still bare, but there are signs that it’s coming like the fresh smell of cut grass, flowers everywhere, new leaf buds and herbs. Being inspired by the season, I made a green Shukshuka by using as many herbs as possible. Shukshuka is a Middle Eastern, Mediterranean dish and is normally made with tomatoes, red peppers, chillies and eggs. To create a green version, I swapped out the tomatoes and peppers for chopped sprouts, peas and spinach and a ton of fresh herbs and I like to serve it with aromatic flatbread. Now I know what you are thinking, sprouts taste like farts, but they are nothing like that when diced and fried. Treat them more like a mini cabbage and they can be wonderful. Sprouts can be added into many other dishes, such as stir fries, pies and salads.

Using so many fresh herbs will fill your home with wonderful smells and make everyone in the house come down, lured by the enticing aromas. This dish can be eaten at any time of the day, but the best I feel is brunch.

Be careful about cooking the eggs as you can easily over cook them, which is what happened to me. The heat in the pan continues to cook the eggs after being taken off the heat and I took too long putting the finishing touches to the dish. Just make sure that everything is ready and serve it as soon as the eggs are cooked to your preference. Over cooked eggs were still tasty, but it would have been more enjoyable with creamy runny yolks and dipping the bread in and then scooping up greens and fetta for a heavenly mouthful. Well now I have an excuse to make it again, but this time with perfect eggs.

Make sure that everything eles is ready before putting the eggs in to prevent overcooking.

Time: 2 hours

Yields: 4 portions

Ingredient

Flatbread

180g flour

A good pinch of salt

5g fresh rosemary, chopped

1 tbsp. olive oil, plus extra for frying

75ml warm water

Shakshuka

1 tbsp. olive oil

1 onion

2 garlic cloves (minced)

160g sprouts (chopped)

1 tsp cumin

2 tsp harissa

125g frozen peas

200g spinach (fresh)

15g parsley (chopped)

Hand full of fresh coriander (chopped)

Hand full of fresh mint (chopped)

4 eggs

200g fetta

1 tsp Za’atar

Salt

Pepper

Method

  1. Flatbread: In a large bowl mix the flour, salt, rosemary and oil together. Slowly add the water until it forms a dough. Knead until smooth and firm. Add a little more water if the mixture is not coming together.
  2. Wrap in Clingfilm and leave to rest in the fridge for 30 minutes.
  3. Cut the dough in half and then cut each half into 4 pieces. You should have 8 rough balls of dough in total.
  4. On a lightly flowered surface roll out the dough until thin, about 1 millimetre.
  5. In a pan on a high heat, add enough oil to just cover the surface.
  6. Place a flattened piece dough into the pan and cook for 2 minutes or until golden brown spots form on the underside.
  7. Flip over and cook for another minute on the other side.
  8. Place on a paper towel to absorb any excess oil and repeat the process with the rest of the dough. Add more oil if necessary to prevent sticking.
  9. These can be served cold or can be kept in an oven at a low heat to keep warm until needed.
  10. Shukshuka: In a large frying pan place oil, onions and garlic on a medium heat. Cook until golden brown.
  11. Add the chopped sprouts, cumin and 1tsp of harissa. Cook for 5 minutes or until tender.
  12. Add peas.
  13. Add spinach in stages, it won’t all fit in the pan at once. Allow the first lot to wilt then add the rest.
  14. Add in all the parsley and half of the coriander and mint. Mix together, taste and add seasoning.
  15. Divide the fetta into two bowls. Add Za’atar and a drop of oil to one and mix. To the other add harissa and a drop of oil and mix. Set aside for garnish.
  16.  Create 4 small wells evenly spaced out around the pan. Crack an egg into each of the wells. Top with a small grind of pepper and cover with a lid.
  17. Cook for 8 minutes to have runny eggs. Be careful not to overcook them as they will continue to cook even after being removed from the heat.
  18. Sprinkle the fetta and the rest of the coriander and mint over the pan.
  19. Serve with the rosemary flatbread.

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