The Last Bite — Fall’s Don’t-Miss Dish in Edible Santa Barbara Magazine
Shakshuka is one of my favorite dishes to find on a breakfast menu: spicy roasted peppers and tomatoes with eggs poached right in the sauce. It’s usually served in a skillet with some fresh toppings, along with bread for dipping. I order it every time.
Shakshuka’s origins are Northeast African—the exact birthplace isn’t known, but the Libyan-Tunisian region is most agreed upon—with variations found throughout the Middle East. Now, with Chef Austin Moore at the helm at the Feast Café at Field + Fort in Summerland, we can have Shakshuka California-style (topped with avocado and feta), made with local Santa Barbara County peppers and tomatoes, lasting through fall and later.
This delightful furniture and décor shop opened in 2019 on the main drag in Summerland, with a small café in the back corner. The idea started out as a tea and coffee spot, but has turned into a breakfast, lunch and dinner-to-go destination, thanks to Moore and his interesting menu.
“Creating Mediterranean flavors, and seeking out local and organic produce is just second nature to me,” says Moore, who grew up with a mom who was also a chef in the Santa Barbara area. He then left home for Portland, and flourished in the food scene there (his ramen was named one of Portland’s top 10 new food carts) before returning here to Santa Barbara County after 13 years.
He loves to blend the exotic with the familiar: California comfort food meets the East. Along with shakshuka, you’ll find breakfast black porridge—sweet and savory versions that rotate with seasonal produce—roasted cauliflower with dates, chickpeas and tahini, and a Jerusalem Feast for sharing. Produce is mainly sourced from local farms: Catlin Ranch, Hilltop And Canyon Farms in Carpinteria and Earthtrine Farm in Ojai. Tomatoes come from Shepherd Farms in summer and early fall. Moore extends those summer tomatoes by canning fresh ones as much as possible, so that his dishes still have that tomato sweetness of the sun, late into the fall and early winter.
California Shakshuka Recipe
To make Moore’s California shakshuka, char locally available peppers (red bell, pasilla and Anaheim are some of his favorites) over an open flame. Use a grill or a gas burner; hold the pepper over the flame until blackened, then turn to char other side. (Or, use the oven broiler to char each side.) Let cool; then peel.
Blanch tomatoes quickly, then peel. Combine whole tomatoes and peppers, diced onion and garlic, plus dried ancho chiles in a sauce pan. Cook over medium heat, stirring, about 10 minutes, then blend roughly (immersion blender is easiest, but any blender on low works).
Place sauce in individual cast iron skillet and mix in paprika, cumin, coriander and salt and pepper to taste. Make a hole in the sauce with a wooden spoon, and crack an egg into the hole. Cook in the oven at 450 degrees for 10 minutes or until egg is done. (Or, fry an egg to place atop.) Top with avocado, feta, an herb mix of parsley, cilantro, tarragon, mint and dill, and serve with griddled bread.