During a trip to Israel last year, the most intriguing dish I had for breakfast was Shakshuka. Originally of Libyan origin, it made an appearance in various forms on most hotel breakfast buffets. But the true shakshuka experience was at the famous Jaffa restaurant aptly named Dr. Shakshuka. This culinary hot spot resembles nothing less than a collision between a flea market and an outdoor eatery. Hundreds, if not thousands, of braziers hang from the ceiling, interspersed with other bric-a-brac.
There is nothing out of the ordinary in the ingredients of shakshuka-tomatoes, hot sauce and eggs, not unlike Huevos Rancheros, its Mexican counterpart of eggs, salsa and tortillas. But watching shakshuka being made is extraordinary—in fact it's an actual theatrical event at Dr. Shakshuka. The Shakshuka are lined up and full of tomatoes and other vegetables, waiting for the cracked eggs and a dance with the heat.
Shakshuka is one of those dishes you can make even when your refrigerator appears to be empty. While variations abound in Israel, the traditional recipe includes three main ingredients: tomatoes, hot sauce and eggs. Other popular ingredients are onions, red peppers, leeks, potatoes and sausage. Serve it in the same frying pan it's cooked in, with bread and a salad.
By Jill Melton, Relish editor-in-chief