Shakshuka Takes a Few Creative Turns
Shakshuka, the North African dish of eggs cooked in a sauce of spiced, stewed tomatoes, has been around for a long time. As American chefs learn more about Middle Eastern dishes and ingredients, they’ve embraced the dish that works for brunch, lunch and dinner, swapping out the tomatoes here, playing around with spices there. Here are a few of our favorite new takes on this Middle Eastern classic.
At New York City’s Green Fig, guests know to expect modern Israeli food from the aptly named Chef Gabriel Israel, and the shakshuka is no exception. Israel cooks pumpkin with cured lemon, carrots and turmeric, and chunks of goat cheese add additional mellow richness.
Of course the shakshuka at Uri Sheft’s Breads Bakery in New York City in encased in bread. And why not? Sheft isn’t known as a bread master for nothing, and his shakshuka focaccia has become a cult favorite. He starts with rounds of proofed focaccia dough, pressing them down in the center to create indentions for the tomatoes and egg to sit. The bread and eggs cook together in the 500-degree F oven, and should be eaten right out of the oven, before the yolks set.
At Autre Monde in Berwyn, Ill., the dish is made more substantial with the addition of lamb chorizo to the mix, and a bed of fingerling potatoes roasted in pork fat as the base. Chefs Dan Pancake and Beth Partridge prefer to poach the eggs and serve them on top rather than cook them in the chunky sauce, but once you break the yolks and mix them in, they become part of a delicious, hearty, messy brunch.
Shakshuka takes a side trip to Japan at New York City’s Bessou, where chef Emily Yuen and owner Maiko Kyogoku collaborated on the kabocha squash shakshuka. The curried roast squash serves as the base of the dish, topped with a spiced tomato sauce, baked eggs, pieces of Japanese milk toast and a Japanese labne made from red miso and firm tofu.
At Story Hill in Milwaukee, Wisc., Joe Muench’s shakshuka is all about the toppings: think smoked lentils, and dollops of goat cheese and sumac mayonnaise. Flatbread is served alongside is perfect for scooping everything up.
In Los Angeles, Farid Zadi gives shakshuka the taco treatment at Revolutionario Tacos. Sweet peppers and tomatoes are spiced and cooked down before they are paired with scrambled eggs and served on a flour tortilla at this tiny spot in South L.A.
Shakshuka goes green at New York City’s Jack’s Wife Freda, where tomatillos cooked with green peppers, onions, garlic and cilantro are the base for a bright new take on the dish, and pieces of toasted challah are on-hand for dipping in the tangy sauce.