I assisted Pierre in making Tchakchouka, a dish he remembers from his time in Algeria. It is a kind of ratatouille — but to me it is the better dish. The recipe appears in many Mediterranean traditions. I have found Algerian, Jewish, Tunisian, Moroccan & Kabile recipes, all have pretty much the same ingredients with variations of meat or eggs — at times coming close to the famous huevos rancheros! We made two versions: one with eggs and another without, which we served with lamb chops. You can eat tchakchouka hot, luke-warm or cold, as you prefer, or as the weather suggests. You will not regret the effort and can make big batches of this super delicious fragrant summer dish. Don’t wait, make yours now!
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 onion, sliced thin
2-3 garlic cloves, minced
3 tomatoes, peeled, seeded, and diced
2-3 green & red peppers, roasted, peeled & sliced
1 cup of water
Paprika, ground coriander seeds
Fresh coriander & parsley chopped
Salt & pepper, to taste
4 eggs (optional)
*Roast the peppers over your stove. When charred wrap them in newspaper. Wait until they cool off & then peel them, discard seeds, cut lengthwise into thin strips.
*Dip tomatoes in boiling water for one minute. Remove & cool, then peel, seed & dice.
* Heat the oil over a medium flame in a deep skillet. Stir in the paprika & ground coriander seeds and let cook slightly to color the oil, about 10-15 seconds.
* Add the onions, sauté until onions are translucent and wilted but not browned, about 4 minutes; add garlic, cook for another minute or so.
* Add tomatoes and bring to a rapid simmer. Add peppers, parsley & fresh coriander, water and salt and pepper. Reduce heat to low, and simmer, covered, for about 15-20 minutes. Add more water as needed.
* If you want to add eggs, form four small indentations in the simmering peppers to hold the eggs. Crack eggs, one by one, into a small bowl and slip each egg from the bowl into an indentation.
* Cover and simmer another 10 minutes or so until eggs are cooked through.
Voilà! & enjoy!