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Cynthia Harari

I have never been to Philadelphia to see the LOVE Statue, Liberty Bell, or The Barnes Foundation Art Museum, but after purchasing the cookbook Zahav, I need to expedite my travel plans immediately and visit the restaurant Zahav, to try some of their special dishes.  

Chef Michael Solomonov who co-owns the restaurant Zahav with Steve Cook, won the 2019 James Beard award for outstanding restaurant in United States. Solomonov is well-known for his modern interpretation of Middle Eastern food. He shares a recipe for Shakshouka (page 299) from his cookbook Zahav. Shakshouka is a quick and easy North African dish that consists of poached eggs in a hot stew of peppers and tomatoes. It's an awesome brunch dish that can feed a large group.

The popularity of Shakshouka, a stovetop dish, can be attributed to its ease of preparation. It’s also a pretty fun word to say. Shakshouka can be garnished with feta or Parmesan cheese, merguez (or any other sausage), or any number of other delectable toppings. This recipe is fairly straightforward. It’s easily scaled up or down depending on the size of your group. However, the most crucial question is: Which type of bread would you select to mop up every last bit of sauce?

I made the Shakshouka at home late one Sunday morning, and I had the leftovers for breakfast the next day. I won’t lie, my friends looked at me long and hard when I explained that the dish consists of poached eggs nestled in a delicious, spicy tomato sauce. But when it was time to eat, we all tore off chunks of good French bread I had bought that morning, and dug into the Shakshouka. It was fun to use the bread to scoop up the rich red sauce, and I told everyone it’s perfectly acceptable and even traditional to eat Shakshouka with your hands.

I hope you try this recipe and enjoy a little bit of Zahav right from the comfort of your own home! Bon Appétit!

½ cup olive oil

2 onions, chopped (about 3 cups)

4 red or green bell peppers, chopped

6 garlic cloves, sliced

2 tablespoons ground dried lime (optional)

6 tablespoons sweet paprika

2 teaspoons ground cumin

2 teaspoons ground coriander

½ teaspoon kosher Salt

8 cups tomato puree

1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon sugar

16 large eggs

Serrano chiles, thinly slice

Fresh cilantro, chopped


Heat ¼ cup of the olive oil over medium in a cast iron skillet large enough to accommodate 16 poached eggs. (If you don't have a skillet that large, use two pans, dividing the ingredients evenly between them.) Add the onions, bell peppers, garlic, dried lime (if using), paprika, cumin, coriander, and salt and cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables haven softened but not browned, about 10 minutes. Add the tomato puree and sugar and simmer until reduced by about one-third, 10 to 12 minutes. Whisk in the remaining ¼ cup oil.

Crack the eggs into the skillet, spacing them evenly in the sauce. Lower the heat, cover, and cook until the egg whites are set but the yolks remain runny, about 5 minutes. Top with serrano chiles and cilantro and serve immediately right from the pan.

Bon Appétit





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