This fabulous spicy egg dish from northern Africa (Libya, Egypt) is great for brunch, lunch or supper. In Tunisia, a similar dish is called ouija; in the American West another version is called huevos rancheros; and in France it is called piperade.
Merguez are hot, spicy North African sausages - ask your butcher for a substitute if he or she doesn't make them. Leave them out altogether for a vegetarian version.
The original recipe is in my Food Year book (Simon & Schuster).
- Yield : 6
- olive oil - 2 tablespoons
- merguez - 6, or other spicy sausages
- peeled tomatoes - 1 x 400g tin
- garlic - 3 -4 cloves, finely chopped
- long green chillies - 2, seeded and finely chopped
- paprika - 1 teaspoon (optional)
- ground cumin - 1 teaspoon
- caraway seeds - 1 teaspoon, grated
- harissa - 1 teaspoon (optional)
- salt and freshly ground black pepper
- water - 150ml
- red capsicums - 2, membranes removed and flesh cut into 5mm slices
- green capsicums - 2, membranes removed and flesh cut into 5mm slices
- yellow capsicum - 1, membranes removed and flesh cut into 5mm slices
- free range or organic egg - 6
Heat the oil in a frying pan and brown the sausages on all sides. Remove and slice into 5cm pieces. Discard some of the oil.
Return sausage pieces to the pan and add the tomatoes, chillies, paprika cumin, caraway seeds, harissa (if using) and salt and pepper. Pour in the water and simmer ten minutes, breaking up the tomatoes as they cook. Add the sliced capsicums, cover and cook for a further 30 minutes. The mixture should be reasonably thick - if not, remove lid and boil rapidly for a few minutes.
Make six indentations in the mixture using the back of a spoon. Break and egg into each one, cover and leave to simmer for 5 - 10 minutes. The whites should be cooked and the yolks soft.
Serve with plenty of char-grilled sourdough bread or toasted Turkish bread.