Friday, June 8, 2012

Have You Tried Shakshuka?

I normally don't post on food in Israel, but I saw an article in Ha'aretz that recommended certain a number of different street foods that you can buy in Israel (including the old standards - falafel, shwarma, etc.), but I noticed one food that didn't make the list that I must recommend called "Shakshuka."
I remember shakshuka from my yeshiva days as a watery, vile mix of tomato sauce and scrambled eggs, and could never figure out why the Israelis liked it. Yet, what I didn't appreciate then is that all institutional food is vile, and it wasn't Shakshuka that I didn't like, but yeshiva shakshuka. (It's kind of like when American kids say that they don't like falafel because all they've had is the frozen kind that you buy in the store and warm in the microwave - a crime against food if you ask me.)
What is Shakshuka? Says the heilige Wikipedia:
Shakshouka (Arabic: شكشوكة‎; Hebrew: שקשוקה‎) (also shakshuka) is a dish of eggs poached in a sauce of tomatoes, chili peppers, onions, often spiced with cumin. [1]. It is believed to have Algerian and Tunisian origins.
That's about right. Take a spicy, really flavorful tomato sauce, crack a couple of eggs into the sauce while it's boiling on the stove and serve at the table, piping hot. It's powerfully flavorful - and delicious. My current favorite version is the Italian Shakshuka at Cafe Cafe (p22) - basically take the above dish and stir in a generous helping of Mazorella Cheese. Slather it on a roll over a long breakfast, and you're set for the day.

Shakshuka at Cafe Cafe! Really, Really Good.