Chic shakshuka

Every cook and every family has a Shakshuka recipe they swear by, and variations are easy to creat

January 1, 2015 19:01
Pizza shakshuka

Pizza shakshuka. (photo credit: SARIT GOFFEN)


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Shakshuka is one of the most popular foods in Israel, and for many good reasons – it’s delicious, its nutritious, it doesn’t cost much, and it’s easy to prepare.

Every cook and every family has a recipe they swear by, and variations are easy to create.

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Some make it with only tomatoes, onions and eggs, while others like to add red peppers and garlic or other herbs and vegetables. Some like the eggs to be well cooked, yet others prefer the yolk to stay soft and pour it into the tomato sauce when eaten. But all agree that it is a great brunch dish that can easily be served as dinner on any given day.

I find that one of the great pluses of the dish is that it can easily be stretched, should an unexpected guest arrive. Simply add another egg and voila! A Shakshuka Festival initiated by Gad dairies opened last week and will continue until mid-January. More than 50 restaurants around the country are offering special shakshuka dishes with added Gad cheeses during the festival. Each chef created his own version of the dish and will serve it at NIS 39 to NIS 59 per plate.

Among the places participating are Jerusalem’s Haba Trattoria, Tel Aviv’s Campanello and Ahad Ha’am Café, as well as Tatti bakery in Givatayim, which gave us its recipes for the dish. You are invited to be inspired and create your own version using your favorite ingredients.

Serves 2
✔ 4 small beets
✔ 2 medium onions, chopped
✔ 2 cloves garlic, sliced
✔ ½ chili pepper, seeds removed, thinly sliced (add more if you like it hot)
✔ ½ tsp. ground cumin
✔ 1 tsp. salt
✔ 2 tsp. sugar
✔ Juice of ½ lemon
✔ Olive oil
✔ 1 to 2 cloves
✔ ¼ tsp. black pepper
✔ ½ cup Gad goat’s yogurt
✔ 4 eggs

Wrap the beets in aluminum foil and bake in a 180° oven until soft, about 45 minutes.

Remove from oven, wait until cool and peel. The peel should come off easily.

Place 2 of the beets in a blender or food processor and grind into paste. Slice the remaining beets thinly.

In a large skillet, fry the onions in olive oil and sauté until transparent. Add garlic and continue cooking 2 to 3 minutes. Add the rest of the ingredients, except eggs and yogurt, and mix well. Bring to a boil and lower heat. Simmer for 10 minutes.

Using a spoon, make wells in the mixture and carefully break an egg into each well.

Drizzle the yogurt on top and cook until eggs are made to your favorite texture.

Serve with fresh halla.

Recipe courtesy of Ahad Ha’am restaurant, Tel Aviv

Serves 4

For the sauce:

✔ 1 can cubed tomatoes
✔ Olive oil
✔ Red sweet pepper, cubed
✔ ½ onion, chopped
✔ 3 cloves garlic, minced
✔ 1 chili pepper, seeds removed, sliced

For the shakshuka:
✔ 250 gr. baby spinach leaves
✔ 1 package ricotta
✔ 8 eggs

Heat the oven to 220°.

Place an oven-proof skillet on the stove on medium-high heat. Add a little olive oil and sauté the vegetables a few minutes. Add the canned tomatoes and 1 cup of water, season with salt and pepper, bring to a boil, lower the heat and simmer for 10 minutes.

Add the spinach. Make wells in the sauce and carefully break the eggs into the wells.

Add the ricotta in small lumps and place in the pre-heated oven for 5 minutes. Serve in the skillet.

Recipe courtesy of chef Mena Strum of Campanello.

Serves 4
✔ 1 can cubed tomatoes
✔ Olive oil
✔ Red sweet pepper, cubed
✔ ½ onion, chopped
✔ 3 cloves garlic, minced
✔ ½ to 1 chili, seeds removed, thinly sliced (optional)
✔ 2 fresh mozzarella balls
✔ A few fresh basil leaves
✔ 8 eggs
✔ 4x200-gr. ready-made or homemade pizza dough

Heat the oven to 220°.

In an oven-proof skillet, heat olive oil and sauté the vegetables. Add the canned tomatoes and 1 cup water and season with salt and pepper.

Bring the sauce to a boil and cook for 10 minutes. Turn the heat off and let cool.

Meanwhile, roll out the dough and place in 4 round baking dishes.

Bake for 5 minutes, remove from the oven, divide the cooked shakshuka sauce between the pizzas, break 2 eggs on each, add a few torn pieces of mozzarella and fresh basil leaves, and return to the oven for 5 minutes.

Recipe courtesy of chef Mena Strum of Campanello.

Serves 2 to 4
✔ 1 onion
✔ 1 carrot
✔ 1 red pepper
✔ 2 ripe tomatoes
✔ 1 eggplant
✔ 1 zucchini
✔ 1 cup tomato juice
✔ 2 Tbsp. honey
✔ 1 sprig fresh thyme or 1 Tbsp. dry thyme
✔ 100 gr. Gad ricotta
✔ 4 eggs
✔ Salt and pepper
✔ Olive oil

Cube all the vegetables.

In a deep skillet, sauté each vegetable separately in a little olive oil. Season each vegetable with a little salt and pepper and set aside.

When all the vegetables are sautéed, return them to the skillet and add thyme and tomato juice. Simmer over low heat for 20 minutes. When cooked, make wells in the sauce and carefully break the eggs into the sauce, crumble the ricotta into the skillet in lumps and cook until eggs are done.

Note: In the photo, the shakshuka is shown baked on pizza dough. To prepare, cook vegetables as described, use any pizza dough and fold it to hold the sauce. Pour the sauce into the dough, add eggs and cheese and bake until done.

Recipe courtesy of Tatti restaurant, Givatayim.

Serves 2

For the white sauce:
✔ 1½ Tbsp. butter
✔ 1½ Tbsp. plain flour
✔ 1 cup milk
✔ Salt
✔ A pinch each of white pepper and nutmeg

For the shakshuka:
✔ 100 gr. champignon mushrooms, sliced
✔ ½ onion, chopped
✔ Bunch chard leaves, hard parts removed, washed
✔ 2 to 4 eggs
✔ 100 gr. grated Gad mozzarella
✔ 100 gr. Gad sheep’s Camembert-style cheese
✔ 100 gr. Gad pecorino-style cheese

Fry onion in a little oil until transparent and golden, and season with a little salt and pepper.

Sauté mushrooms in a little butter and season with salt and pepper. Chop the chard and add to the mushrooms. Sauté until chard is wilted, add the fried onions, mix and set aside.

To prepare white sauce: Melt butter in a skillet. Add the flour and mix until golden.

Add milk while whisking until sauce is smooth. Remove from heat and season with a little nutmeg, white pepper and salt.

Heat oven to 220°.

Grease one medium oven-proof baking dish or 2 individual ones.

Mix the white sauce with most of the cheeses, leaving 2 to 3 Tbsp. grated pecorino for later.

Place the cheese mixture in the bottom of the baking dish. Top with mushroom-chard mixture. Sprinkle the rest of the grated pecorino on top.

Bake in the preheated oven until the cheese is melted and white sauce is cooked.

Poach the eggs in boiling water with vinegar.

Remove the baked cheese shakshuka from the oven and top with poached eggs.

Recipe courtesy of Trattoria Haba, Jerusalem.

For a complete list of the participating places, go to Recipes and photos courtesy of Gad Dairies.

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