Of all the fabulous dishes from the Middle East, this is one of our absolute favorites. Packed with exotic spices and savory flavors, it makes a perfect brunch on weekends and a fun breakfast for the whole family.
Red bell peppers and red onions are simmered until translucent and softened, but still holding their shape and are slightly chewy. Then we add garlic and a couple of tomatoes cut into chunks, and simmer until they are married. Now we add our Shakshuka sauce, which has the same look and texture as marinara, made from long simmered red bell peppers, red onions and tomatoes. We like to make a large batch of that and keep it in the refrigerator for two or three breakfasts. Or you can always buy a jar, as this dish is now more and more popular, in fact Whole Foods sells three different brands.
Now comes our Middle Eastern spices, and here is where the magic happens. In some countries of the Middle East, like Syria, Egypt and Israel, they add Za’atar, which includes ancient spices like Hyssop and Sumac. (Sumac was found in King Tut’s tomb!) They are incredibly exotic and slightly lemony, with very deep gravitas. Some countries, like Morocco, add Ras el Hanout, which has turmeric, ginger, cinnamon, fennel, anise seed, cardamom, galangal, star anise, paprika, rosebuds and lavender blossoms. We often add BOTH to our Shakshuka, and it’s mind blowing. It’s like walking through the spice bizarre in Marrakesh and tasting everything amazing that you can smell.
You can easily get both Za’atar and Ras el Hanout on Amazon, we have included a pic of both. When the sauce is simmering and the entire kitchen is redolent with spices, we add about five ounces of Feta, spreading them around so they melt into little puddles.
Finally, we make a little space in the sauce for four eggs, and simmer on low until the whites are creamy and the yolk is just starting to set up. Now everyone dives in, hopefully with seared toast, cilantro and Harissa on the side for heat. Enjoy!