Meny Vaknin, executive chef and owner of MishMish Café in Montclair, New Jersey, grew up in Israel and was raised by Moroccan-Israeli parents. Shakshuka was a breakfast staple in his family’s household because it’s perfect for dipping and sharing. “My dad made this dish whenever my mom wasn’t home—mostly because it’s easy,” Vaknin says. “You just can’t fuck it up.” Vaknin uses one secret ingredient to set his shakshuka recipe apart from all the others: honey. It’s like how Italians add sugar to tomato sauce to balance its acidity. Here, the honey serves the same purpose while giving the dish a deep umami flavor.
photo courtesy of MISHMISH RESTAURANT
1 red bell pepper, julienned
1 medium yellow onion, julienned
3 garlic cloves
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
1 tablespoon honey
1 can imported whole, peeled tomatoes
Salt to taste
Freshly cracked black pepper to taste
How to Make It
Heat olive oil in a cast iron skillet sauce pan and sauté onions, peppers and garlic over medium heat for about 7 minutes. Add cumin seeds after 5 minutes.
Blend whole peeled tomatoes, leave it a little chunky, and pour over the onion pepper mixture.
Bring to a slow simmer (make sure not to boil too hard) and cook for about 20 to 35 minutes.
Check the seasoning and add the honey to lighten the acidic edge.
After sauce is fully seasoned, break the two eggs into the simmering pot, cover and cook for about 6 minutes until the egg whites are firm and the yolk is a little runny.
Garnish with feta cheese and za’atar spice mix to taste.