Breakfast Shakshukas

Recipe by Alexandra Stafford

In Tunisia, eggs are often served poached in spicy tomato sauce. This recipe, from Alexandra Stafford's cookbook Bread Toast Crumbs, puts that delicacy on a round of sesame-sprinkled dough for an all-in-one, immensely satisfying breakfast.

55 mins
23 to 27 mins
3 hrs 42 mins
6 flatbread
Breakfast Shakshukas


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  1. To make the dough: In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, and yeast. Add the water and mix until the liquid is absorbed and a sticky dough forms. Cover and set aside in a warm spot to rise for 1 1/2 to 2 hours, until the dough has nearly doubled in bulk.

  2. To make the sauce: In a medium skillet, heat the oil over medium heat. When it shimmers, add the onion and cook until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute, until fragrant. Sprinkle with the salt, pepper flakes, cumin, and za’atar, stirring to coat. Add the tomatoes, stir, cover the pan, and reduce the heat to low. Simmer for 5 minutes, or until the tomatoes begin to break down. Uncover the pan and cook for 5 to 10 more minutes, until the sauce thickens. Remove from the heat, stir in the cilantro, taste, and adjust the seasoning as needed.

  3. To assemble: Line two baking sheets with parchment. Put three small puddles of olive oil, spaced 6” apart, on each pan (use a scant teaspoon of oil for each). Sprinkle 1/2 teaspoon sesame seeds into each puddle.

  4. Flour your hands and work surface. Deflate the dough, and turn it out of the bowl. Divide it into six pieces (they’ll weigh about 3 ounces each). Round up the balls of dough. Press each ball into a puddle, then turn it over and place on the pan. Let the dough balls rest for 20 minutes without touching them. While they're resting, preheat your oven to 350°F.

  5. Oil your hands and gently stretch each ball of dough to a 6” to 7” round, working from the center out. Leave the outside edge a little thicker, to form a border. Place 2 tablespoons of sauce atop the dough inside the border, pressing down in the center to form a cup. Brush the edges of the dough with water and sprinkle with the remaining sesame seeds.

  6. Bake the breads for 15 minutes. Remove the pans from the oven and crack an egg into the center of each round. Return to the oven and bake for 8 to 12 minutes more, until the eggs are just set and the yolks are slightly runny. Serve immediately.

Tips from our Bakers

  • You can make the sauce days in advance; it will keep in the refrigerator for up to 1 week. The dough can be mixed the night before, using cold water. Cover and let rest on the counter for 8 to 10 hours before shaping.