‘Shuka Doop

Written by Marilyn Hawkes Category: Three Bites Issue: January 2018
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Savory, stew-like shakshuka brings a touch of the tribe to Valley brunch menus.

kosher shakshuka; photo by Angelina Aragon
kosher shakshuka; photo by Angelina Aragon

Zabari Mediterranean Grill
3831 E. Thunderbird Rd., Phoenix
602-482-0444, zabarigrill.com
The origin of shakshuka, eggs poached or baked in an aromatic tomato stew, is a matter of some debate. Variously attributed to Morocco, Tunisia and Israel, the savory dish is a staple throughout the Middle East – and to the delight of devotees, is trending on Valley menus. At Zabari Mediterranean Grill, chef Doreen Maimran, mother of owner Yair Kapach, makes her kosher shakshuka ($10.99, pictured) using a guarded family recipe. The thick, deep-red stew, laden with chunks of tomato, red pepper, garlic and a hint of jalapeño, is topped with a trio of eggs baked in the sauce. Unless you specify, the yolks will come out slightly runny, so Maimran provides a warm, fire-kissed pita for mop-up. What makes Zabari’s shakshuka so good? “I think my mom puts extra love in it,” Kapach says.

Joe’s Midnight Run
6101 N. Seventh St., Phoenix
480-459-4467, joesmidnightrun.com
Joe’s Midnight Run executive chef Michael Goldsmith offers globally inspired fare, so when friends returned from a trip to Israel and suggested he consider shakshuka ($9) for his new brunch menu, he went to work on a recipe. Pulling from Israeli and Moroccan sources, Goldsmith devised his own tomato-studded medley, adding a few nontraditional ingredients including zucchini, spinach and shishito peppers to lend some grassy notes. He seasons the mix with coriander, cumin and a dash of smoked paprika, a combination that subdues the tomato’s natural acidity. Because the restaurant’s sole oven is of the 800-degree, wood-burning variety, Goldsmith cooks the eggs in a nonstick skillet at a much lower temperature and then floats them sunny side up on top of the smoky stew.

milk + honey espresso bar & eatery
12701 N. Scottsdale Rd., Scottsdale
480-566-9020, milkandhoneyjcc.com
Dany Marciano hails from Morocco and grew up eating shakshuka ($10) using leftover matboucha, a salad of cooked tomatoes and grilled red and green peppers, and adding eggs. At milk + honey, located at the Valley of the Sun Jewish Community Center, chef-owner Marciano cooks the eggs in a stew-lined cast iron skillet that’s delivered to the table with an oven mitt. The kosher kitchen makes everything from scratch, including the pliable pita to scoop up the cumin-and-paprika-scented mélange. “Shakshuka is a very popular dish in Israel,” Marciano says. “Most Israelis think it’s their dish, but it’s more Moroccan.” Whatever the dish’s provenance, Valley diners are in a welcoming mood.

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