Photography Aubrie Pick
Over the past few years, Eden Grinshpan, the host of Top Chef Canada, has been busy whipping up hummus, sizzling kebab burgers, and roasting cauliflower heads from her Brooklyn kitchen to perfect every last recipe for the launch of her cookbook, Eating Out Loud, which hit shelves September 1, 2020. But even she has experienced occasional cooking fatigue lately: “I’ve had my days where I’m really over it,” she says. “Like: Here’s a bagel and some butter. Enjoy!”
Earlier in 2020 Grinshpan, her husband, Ido, and their 3-year-old daughter, Ayv, headed to Toronto (Grinshpan’s hometown) for some much-needed family time with the grandparents. The couple had been working from home without child care for months and were craving a break from juggling work and parenting. “Ayv wanted us to play with her all day, so [it’s been] lots of hide-and-seek, chalk, and dress-up,” says Grinshpan.
On the days when she’s sapped of culinary creativity, Grinshpan has turned to one easy recipe again and again: a spicy shakshuka topped with a make-ahead garlicky tahini for richness and a side of challah for crunch (though she says any warm bread will do).
Classic Shakshuka With Garlicky Tahini
For the tahini
1 cup tahini paste
2 tsp fresh lemon juice, plus more to taste
1 garlic clove, grated
1 tsp kosher salt, plus more to taste
1/2 cup ice water, plus more if needed
For the shakshuka
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
1 small yellow onion, finely chopped
1 red bell pepper, finely chopped
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp curry powder (optional)
1/2 tsp ground turmeric
1 tbsp harissa, store-bought
6 medium tomatoes, finely chopped, or 1 (28-oz) can diced tomatoes (I like San Marzano)
Pinch of sugar
4 large eggs
Fresh dill or parsley, for garnish
Challah, pita, or other soft white bread, for serving
To make the tahini: In a medium bowl, whisk together the tahini paste, lemon juice, garlic, salt, and ice water. It will reach a weird, lumpy consistency, but don’t be afraid. Keep whisking until it smooths out and becomes light in color (if it doesn’t, it needs more ice water, so just add a bit more). Tahini sauce with the perfect consistency will drip through the tines of a fork, but just barely. Taste for seasoning, adding more lemon juice or salt if desired. Store in a jar in the refrigerator for up to one week. If the tahini gets too thick while in the fridge, just loosen it up with a little water before using.
In a large skillet with a fitted lid, heat 2 tablespoons olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the onion and bell pepper, and season well with salt and black pepper. Cook until the onion just begins to lightly brown, 6 to 8 minutes, then add the garlic, cumin, curry powder (if using), turmeric, and harissa. Sauté until fragrant and the onion is lightly browned, 1 to 2 minutes. Stir in the tomatoes and season with the sugar and a pinch each of salt and black pepper. Cover the pan and simmer over low heat until the sauce has thickened slightly, about 20 minutes. Uncover the pan, raise the heat to medium-high, and continue simmering, stirring occasionally, until the sauce is thick enough to cling to the eggs, 10 to 15 minutes.
Use a large spoon to make four wells in the sauce. Crack an egg into each well, cover the pan with the lid, and cook over medium-high heat until the whites are set but the yolks are still runny, about 3 minutes.
Remove the pan from the heat. Garnish with fresh dill or parsley and drizzle with olive oil and garlicky tahini. Serve hot with bread.