All cuisines are influenced by sociological, economical, historical, and agricultural forces. Israeli cuisine is no exception. Majority Jewish, Israel is home to 9.2 million people. Over the last 70 years, people from 80+ countries have migrated/ returned to now Israel and with them, they have brought recipes from all over the world.
From my (limited) research on Israeli cuisine, I understand that Israeli cuisine is quite known for its breakfast. Consisting of eggs, cheeses, vegetables, and bread, the spread is quite elaborate and Shakshuka is the apex of the egg dishes in the Israeli breakfast. Shakshuka was brought to Israel as a part of Mizrahi cuisine, from the parts of Northern Africa. Globally, Shakshuka is essentially eggs poached in a red tomato sauce with onions, parsley, and red peppers. But that is not the one I am talking about…
In Israel, there is another traditional recipe for Shakshuka. One that is not red, in fact, it doesn’t have any tomatoes at all. It’s cooked with spinach, chard, and herbs. Topped with crumbly cheese and served with either Lechem or Pita bread. I had no idea about the existence of this recipe until I talked to Inbar.
Guest this week: Inbar Zuckerberg (Israel)
This week, I reached out to Inbar Zuckerberg, Chef de cuisine (if you are like me and lacking in fancy words vocab, Chef de cuisine means Executive Chef. In even simpler words SHE IS THE BOSS of the kitchen and all matters cooking) at Kaiser’s Reblaube Zurich, Switzerland. I have been in touch with Inbar for the past few weeks and she was one of the early few people I shared the idea for Across Kitchen Lines with. Inbar was extremely supportive of the idea and quite helpful in this short time I have known her.
“Ok. So about myself, I was born and raised in Israel and as I grew up I had a dream to come to Switzerland. Well, sometimes dreams do come true. I am a fitness enthusiast, coffee lover, and chocolate addict. I’d describe my kitchen as classic with a twist. I like to combine spices in my desserts, I cook seasonal, and as far as I can, local. And vegetarians have a full menu to enjoy at my restaurant.
I started baking when I was a child and I never stopped. After graduating high school I went to learn and train as a pastry chef and then I got into a professional kitchen. I worked and learned in Switzerland under the mentorship of a very good chef. Along with my day job, I also accomplished a chef diploma in Switzerland.
Cooking for me is everything, it is therapy, it’s what I do when I’m nervous and what I do to relax.
I started baking thanks to watching my grandmother making bread for the weekend. The scent of her stew was something I always adored and the smell of fresh nut bread in the morning was for me the memory of the vacation.”
Checkout Inbar’s page @inbarizu to learn more about her cooking and travels. Make sure to check out her stories for workout motivation to burn off all the calories from the food that her page will inspire you to cook.
This recipe is an adaption of the recipe from Adeena Sussman’s book Sababa: Fresh, Sunny Flavors From My Israeli Kitchen: A Cookbook. I made some minor adjustments per my pantry.
- 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1 large onion
- 4 large garlic cloves
- 1 1/2 pounds mixed greens (kale, spinach,
chard or mustard), stems removed and roughly chopped (about 16 cups)
- 1/4 cup vegetable broth
- 1 cup packed mixed fresh herbs (parsley, cilantro, basil)
- 1 teaspoon za’atar spice blend
- 1 tablespoon finely chopped jalapeño, (about 1 jalapeño)
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1/8 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
- 1/2 to 3/4 cup half-and-half or fresh cream
- 8 eggs
Crispy Latke: makes 3
- 1 large Russet potato washed, unpeeled
- 1/2 medium onion
- 1 large egg
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 3 tablespoon vegetable oil
Preparation/ Mise en Place:
- Greens – Kale and Spinach (I wanted to add chard and mustard greens but wasn’t available)
- Portion out 8 cups of kale and 8 cups of spinach. No, it doesn’t have to be precise. After the first two cups, I realized that one cup of greens is roughly a fistful and after that, I just guesstimated the rest
- 3 garlic pods – Mince
- 1 onion – Dice
- 1 cup Cilantro (green herbs) – Chop
- 1 jalapeno – finely chop
- 1 potato – coarse grate using a box grater
- 1/2 onion – coarse grate
- Mix the above in a bowl and soak in cold water for about 10-15 minutes to wash out excessive starch, necessary to get that crispy texture
- Spread a kitchen towel onto a clean cutting board, a large plate, or kitchen counter. With your hands scoop out some potato and onion mixture, squeeze out the water(discard) and place the mix on the towel
- Fold the mixture into the towel and wring it as hard as you can to squeeze out as much water as possible. Any excessive water left will cause steam during cooking and you will end up with a soft instead of crispy texture
- Place the squeezed mixture in a mixing bowl and add salt, pepper, egg, and mix with a fork or your hand to form a batter
- Set a 10-inch skillet, stainless steel or cast iron (better if it is oven safe) over medium heat
- Add oil once the skillet is hot. Add all the onions and garlic and cook till light golden. It should take about 8-9 minutes. Add a little bit of salt to accelerate this process
- Raise the heat to medium-high and start adding the greens in batches. Add a couple of cups or as much as you can fit in the skillet, once it is reduced in size and there is more room, add more greens
- Add the vegetable broth and cook until mostly absorbed
- Stir in the herbs, za’atar, jalapeños, pepper, nutmeg, and salt(to taste) and let cook for a couple of minutes
- Reduce the heat to medium-low and stir in half and half. Simmer till the mixture unifies. Should only take about 3-4 minutes
- At this point, you can hollow out 6-8 wells for eggs in the green gravy. Crack an egg straight into each well and cook on medium heat and let it cook for 3-4 minutes
- Now you have two options. If you have an oven with a broiler, place the skillet in the oven with broiler on and cook for about 3 minutes or just put a lid on the skillet and finish your dish on the stove itself by cooking for another 2-3 minutes. Sorry for vague cooking times here but I would be lying if I said I know the right time! Each stove is different and so is every egg
- You want the egg whites to be opaque and yolks still runny
- Finish it by crumbling some cheese on top, you can use feta, goat or whatever is in the refrigerator. You can add some chopped olives and fresh herbs on top as well and a generous drizzle of olive oil
- Place a 10 inch cast iron or any heavy bottom skillet on medium heat
- Once the skillet is hot, add oil
- Take about a cup of batter and form a patty in your hands, roughly 4-inch diameter and 1/2 inch thick. You will get roughly 3 of these with these quantities of ingredients
- Cook for about 3 minutes and each side
I served mine with homemade pita bread that my wife made to support this post 🙂
Making Shakshuka is roughly a 30-minute deal, throw in latkes and you add 15 more minutes to your mealtime and it’s absolutely delicious and healthy.
Honestly’s when I asked Inbar for a dish and she said Shakshuka, I was a bit disappointed. Not because I do not like Shakshuka. In fact, it is my wife’s absolute favorite dish and we have it at least once a month, if not more. I have just cooked it so many times that I was not excited about it at first but then Inbar said how about a green one that is made in Israel. Well, that was a game-changer!
I am so glad I went Across Kitchen Lines and reached out to Inbar. I learned about this Shakshuka’s less famous green cousin and in my opinion a much more nutrition-packed meal.
I hope you give this recipe a try. If you do please share pictures with me. Checkout Inbar’s page! If you have a recipe you want to cook with me, count me in! and please send me a message or leave a comment.