Savory, stew-like shakshuka brings a touch of the tribe to Valley brunch menus.
Zabari Mediterranean Grill
3831 E. Thunderbird Rd., Phoenix
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
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
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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