Here in the absolute white-hot center of the brunch culture boom, there may be no dish that’s currently more of-the-moment than shakshuka [shahk-SHOO-kah]. Made of eggs poached directly in a tomato and vegetable sauce, it’s a brisk seller at boozy brunches and breakfast eateries all over world. Fun fact: its name is derived from the North African Arabic word shakshek, which means “to shake or jiggle.”
Fresh and seasonal
Once diners taste shakshuka, they might want to try more Israeli-influenced dishes during the rest of the week. If you’d like to explore this country’s cuisine for your own menu, you have plenty of options. Israelis eat a diet centered around seasonally available, fresh produce items, so it’s a cuisine that will be appreciated health-centric diners who will relish its fresh takes on Mediterranean staples.
In the United States, restaurants like Shaya in New Orleans are setting the pace, with dishes like lutenitsa (a spread made with tomatoes, eggplant and peppers), fresh-made falafel and Persian rice.
In Philadelphia, Zahav (it means “gold” in Hebrew) serves up wood oven-baked laffa bread, salatim (seasonal vegetable dish assortment) and pomegranate molasses-glazed dry-aged smoked lamb shoulder. Zahav’s chef, Michael Solomono, won the 2017 James Beard Chef of the Year award.
Internationally, Israeli-British chef, restaurant owner and food writer Yotam Assaf Ottolenghi is widely considered to be the cuisine’s brightest star. Co-owner of five delis and restaurants in London, he is famously quoted as saying, “”I want drama in the mouth.”
Ingredients and dishes
Key ingredients for an Israeli-focused shopping list of staples might include tahini, pomegranate molasses, Israeli couscous and za’atar. Dishes to consider include hummus, sabich (a street food sandwich made with fried eggplant and hard-boiled eggs), bourekas (dough nuggets crisped in oil and stuffed with savory ingredients) and shawarma (lamb, turkey or chicken flavored with turmeric, cardamom, cinnamon and cloves).
From Thrillist, Why Modern Israeli Food is America’s New Favorite Cuisine