I love to explore the off-the-beaten-track kinds of places where tourists aren’t beating down the doors to get a table. I like to sit back and people-watch, noticing the locals who have their own seat at the well-worn bar, where they know the waitresses by name and have a funny story to tell to the other locals about the craziness of the vacationers invading their lovely town.
That particular morning last spring, we were walking in a residential neighborhood and happened upon a little eatery with antique, weather-worn windows, an iron bike-rack beside the huge wooden front door aged to perfection with the salt of the sea, and a quaint little chalkboard sign outside offering today’s specials.
Inside were families with babies in strollers with the family pet tied loosely to the handle. There were sunburned surfer-dudes who had permanent suntans and beach-styled hair. There were ladies in colorful sundresses sipping mimosas and idly spending their time gossiping with girlfriends.
Behind the bar were welcoming and sociable waiters and waitresses who seemed comfortable together to the point that the public can believe they are good friends outside of work and are willing to make their customers feel welcome in their little bistro home. And they did!
I immediately surveyed the brunch specials looking for anything that sounded delicious but that I had never tried before. I stumbled upon the word Shakshuka, read that it contained eggs, and — being the egg lover that I am — knew I had found my dish to try. We came home and created our own version of this scrumptious, one-skillet egg dish. Enjoy it for breakfast, lunch or dinner!
2 Tbsp. butter
1 tsp. olive oil
1 small onion, medium diced
1 clove of garlic, diced
1 can crushed tomatoes (28 oz.)
1 tsp. sugar
2 tsp. red wine vinegar
1 tsp. thyme
½ to 1 Tbsp. red pepper flakes (to taste)
1 Tbsp. dried basil with some for garnish
1 Tbsp. dried parsley with some for garnish
Salt and pepper to taste
Sauté the onions and garlic in oil and butter until the onions are translucent. Add all ingredients except the eggs. Cover and let the flavors mingle in their little party for 10 minutes on a slow boil.
Make six wells in the sauce and crack each egg into the wells. Cover and poach the eggs for approximately five minutes. Garnish with dried basil and parsley and serve.
Mount Carmel’s Angelia Hensley is a community contributor for the Kingsport Times News.