I had the most stereotypical, most perfect girls’ weekend recently. My friend Marjolein hopped on over from Belgium and we had ourselves a grand time, complete with mud masks, shopping, lots of girl talk, and – of course – food. We live in different countries and don’t see each other that often, but no matter how much time passes we’re always able to pick up right where we left off – a true sign of a great friendship.
On Saturday morning, after a leisurely breakfast, we headed on over to Amsterdam for the day. And that’s where I experienced my first green shakshuka – but I’ll get back to that in a second.
We headed for the shopping streets, filled with that pre-shopping sense of possibility. Oh, the things we tried! The things we saw! (I’m feeling rather dramatic right now… And also avoiding my to-do list.) I’d actually never properly shopped in downtown Amsterdam before. Even though it’s quite busy, the stores they have are definitely worth sticking your elbows out for. Plus the location more than makes up for any extra time spent waiting in line!
Food was only a few short tram stops away, at Bakers & Roasters in De Pijp. I’ve only been there twice, but so far I am LOVING it. They have tons of vegetarian options, too – so many that Marjolein and I agonized over our choices for a good 10 minutes before we could properly relax and enjoy our prime spot outside!
Marjolein opted for the huevos rancheros, while I went for the intriguingly named green shakshuka… which (finally) brings us back to the whole point of this story.
I had my reservations about it when I saw it on the menu. They called it something like ‘lean’ and ‘clean’, two words that would usually be enough to put me off – BUT I’d had such a great first experience there, and the dish itself sounded right up my alley, so I went for it.
You’d probably figured it out by the very fact that I’ve written this post, but it was a huge success! So simple, so hearty, so delicious. The perfect brunch on an excellent girls’ day – and so nutritious!
(And then we had wine and nachos as our dinner, with a heavy side of candy to sustain us on the train ride home, and then stayed up far too long
binge-watching Jane the Virgin – I mean partying.)
Naturally, I tried to recreate the shakshuka almost immediately – and save for some technical difficulties figuring out how to cook the eggs, it was another success. Since then I’ve tested the recipe a few more times (and eaten probably three heads of broccoli to myself in that process) and feel confident sharing it with you guys. After some experimenting with a green, broccoli-based sauce (which was a big fat NOPE), I’ve gone back to something closer to the original version. I skip the avocado because I feel like it kind of gets lost in here. And then, to sauce it up a little, I add some yoghurt and some zhoug. I serve it all up with flatbread and it is a delicious little dish, jam packed with tons of greens, and rich and hearty from the runny egg yolks and the salty hit of the feta.
A note: technically speaking, I guess this isn’t really a shakshuka, in that there isn’t a sauce in which to poach the eggs. To get the whites to cook but the yolks to stay nice and runny, you have to dig little holes in the tangle of veg, then carefully crack the eggs in, and cover the pan for a few minutes. I suppose it’s more of a steaming method than anything, but it works! You may have to let go of the idea of beautifully, symmetrically poached eggs, though. Or if you can figure out how to do that, then let me know!
*You want them to fit easily in your mouth with some egg, spinach, and flatbread. **I salt every layer as I go, but do as your heart desires... To add that to every step would bore you to tears!