How much do we love a breakfast that “sticks to your ribs”? It’s clearly not just an American thing, because the Mediterranean dish shakshuka is definitely a hearty enough breakfast to rival any lumberjack skillet.
Though it first popped up in Northern Africa, countries around the Mediterranean and the Middle East have taken on shakshuka has their own. Many people in Israel would call it their national dish. Though its rich with flavor, it’s deceptively simple, and can be found in Mediterranean restaurants all over the US.
Shakshuka is a rich breakfast of eggs poached in tomato sauce. Sounds simple enough, with ingredients almost any chef should have on hand. But each cook makes this dish their own by adding special blends of aromatics and spices to the simmering sauce.
Like a typical American breakfast skillet, it’s all cooked in one pan. Whole tomatoes are simmered until they’re soft and crushable, along with onions, garlic, and sweet peppers. Fragrant Middle Eastern spices are added: cumin and paprika, and sometimes sumac or za’atar. Then, once the sauce has reduced a bit, the eggs are cracked in to poach. Variations include shakshuka with feta, olives, or (though it’s usually a vegetarian dish) chicken or lamb.
Even then, it sounds pretty simple, but so are the best American breakfasts, aren’t they. The dish itself is typically served in the skillet it was cooked in, alongside a knob of crusty bread to soak up all that sauce.
Just look at that sauce.
Find a Mediterranean restaurant, especially one that specializes in Israeli dishes, and you’ll likely find shakshuka. Here are a few to check out if you’re in the area: