Genius Recipes

Scrambled Shakshuka Is Almost Impossible to Mess Up

Sami Tamimi's childhood breakfast from Palestine is this week’s Genius Recipe.

September 23, 2020

Every week in Genius Recipes—often with your help!—Food52 Creative Director and lifelong Genius-hunter Kristen Miglore is unearthing recipes that will change the way you cook.


In the past decade, we’ve seen shakshuka crash onto brunch menus and Instagram feeds and Trader Joe’s starter kits the world over. It’s shape-shifted into pizzas and pastas and collided, to eye-popping effect, with the avocado toast trend.

But if we take a pause and return to its North African then Middle Eastern roots, we’ll also find a rich world of shakshuka to jostle our imagination, without even pouring it into a bread bowl. “There are so many versions of shakshuka, all variations on the same theme of eggs cooked in a nice thick sauce,” Sami Tamimi and Tara Wigley write in their beautiful new cookbook Falastin, which they published in June of this year after a decade of working, together and apart, on various projects in the Ottolenghi family.

The shakshuka you just can't mess up. Photo by Julia Gartland. Prop Stylist: Sophie Strangio. Food Stylist: Anna Billingskog.

In Falastin, there are two shakshukas—and there were almost three. Along with the easygoing recipe I’m sharing here, the second version in Falastin is green, with braised eggs nestled in herbs and Swiss chard. The almost-third was yellow, with sunny bell peppers and green tomatoes that Sami and Tara decided weren’t accessible enough for the book (but are yet one more colorful direction to take shakshuka when you can).

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Top Comment:
“Just loved this recipe! Made it fir super last night, with whst I had on hand. No peppers..used cucumbers. (It wkd) Very easy to make a also delightful delicious! The topping was yummy too. I subd a sm can ofvmild green chili's, and the rest of the ingredients. Used sour cream(,no fetavat hand) It all came together wonderfully! Hubby loved it🥰”
— Barbara B.
Comment

The laidback style that Sami grew up eating for breakfast in Palestine looked little like the one more widely known today. His eggs weren’t peeking up at him sunny-side, but scrambled into sauce-drunk ribbons. In this way, it has much in common with Turkish menemen and Yemeni shakshuka, both of which are simply scrambled, too.

As with most of the recipes in Falastin, once the scrambled shakshuka of Sami’s childhood landed in the Ottolenghi Test Kitchen, it got some modern updates: crushed whole, toasted spices rather than ground, a marinated feta topping with bursts of coriander and chile.

“We’d rather shine a new light on an old classic than recreate it verbatim. Doing this—‘playing around’—is a risk, we know,” Sami and Tara write, “because loyalty is not, of course, just about the dish. It’s about tradition and identity and being able to own these things through food.” As they show in Falastin, there are plenty of ways to do so with a keen eye to the Palestinian pantry and the stories and recipes of its people. No need for bread bowls.

Scrambling shakshuka—beyond being lush and comforting, the eggs now freer to soak up the surrounding sauce—is a boon to new cooks, perfectionists, and the yolk-phobic alike. There’s no wondering if your whites are firm and your yolks as gooey as you like. Scrambled eggs practically shout when they’re done and, when slow-cooking in a sauce this good, are incredibly resilient. They even stand up to reheating—so feel free to make too much.

Got a genius recipe to share—from a classic cookbook, an online source, or anywhere, really? Perhaps something perfect for beginners? Please send it my way (and tell me what's so smart about it) at [email protected].

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See what other Food52 readers are saying.

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I'm an ex-economist, lifelong-Californian who moved to New York to work in food media in 2007, before returning to the land of Dutch Crunch bread and tri-tip barbecues in 2020. Dodgy career choices aside, I can't help but apply the rational tendencies of my former life to things like: recipe tweaking, digging up obscure facts about pizza, and deciding how many pastries to put in my purse for "later."

10 Comments

Lazyretirementgirl October 21, 2020
Deep gratitude from a yolk phobic lover of the shakshuka concept and all the other ingredients! 🙏🏻🙏🏻🙏🏻
 
Barbara B. September 27, 2020
Just loved this recipe! Made it fir super last night, with whst I had on hand. No peppers..used cucumbers. (It wkd) Very easy to make a also delightful delicious! The topping was yummy too. I subd a sm can ofvmild green chili's, and the rest of the ingredients. Used sour cream(,no fetavat hand)
It all came together wonderfully!
Hubby loved it🥰
 
sf-dre September 27, 2020
I'm Looking forward to trying this recipe because I'm yolk phobic.
 
Marlene F. September 24, 2020
Regarding the recipe for shakshuka, where is Palestine? I thought the country was called Israel. It hasn’t been called Palestine for over 50 years. So unless this chef is very old, he probably lives in Israel.
 
billy September 24, 2020
Thank you for telling us everything there is to know about this perfectly clear-cut issue! Regarding the recipe for shakshuka, how are you today?

Just kidding! Regarding the recipe for shakshuka--I love it. Poached-egg shakshuka is hard to beat, but if you misjudge the timing even a little, it's game over. This removes the stressful moment of truth from the equation. I hate food that has a moment of truth. You could reliably make this version for company (and show them this article to prove you'd done it on purpose).
 
Jacob D. September 25, 2020
Not incontrovertible, look up the state of palestine, it exists with an attributable residency today.
 
zeldie September 24, 2020
So it’s a frittata or scrambled eggs not a shakshuka ...call your dish by it’s correct name.
 
Author Comment
Kristen M. September 24, 2020
Hi zeldie, if you read the article, you'll see that shakshuka is actually sometimes served scrambled in the Middle East—it's just a less widely known version, which is why I was excited to discover it in the Falastin cookbook and share it with all of you!
 
Gloria W. September 24, 2020
I am sure this is tasty but scrambling the eggs in shakshuka takes away the best part of it!
 
Author Comment
Kristen M. September 24, 2020
You might be surprised by how delicious the eggs can be this way–I was!