One of the only things I miss in Israel is the concept of brunch on a Sunday morning.
The term was cited in the Oxford English Dictionary from an 1895 Punch Magazine journalist’s suggestion that there ought to be a meal served after church on Sunday with tea or coffee, marmalade and breakfast foods instead of the English early dinner. Here are some interesting recipes for just such a get together.
My Favorite Shakshouka
Shakshouka is a Tunisian dialect word for mixture or shaken. The dish was brought by Tunisian Jews who immigrated to Israel en masse in the 1950s. If you’re inviting more people, double or triple the recipe. I prefer this less spicy version, which I adapted from a 1986 book.
- 4 Tablespoons olive oil
- 8 small diced potatoes
- half red pepper, cut in strips
- half yellow pepper, cut in strips
- 1 medium sliced onion
- 4 small diced tomatoes
- ½ teaspoon basil
- 8 eggs
- minced garlic (optional)
- 2 Tablespoons minced parsley (optional)
- smoked paprika, cumin, chili powder (optional)
1. Heat oil in a large frying pan. Add potatoes, peppers, onion, tomatoes and basil. (If using other spices, add them.) Cover and cook until vegetables are tender.
2. Break eggs atop mixture. Cover and simmer until egg yolks are covered with thin white film.
This recipe came from Food & Wine from Noah Bernamoff, the Montreal born chef-owner of several New York restaurants featuring good Jewish food in the present tense.
- ¼ cup canola oil
- 1 large thinly sliced onion
- 2 cups ¼-inch thick strips salami
- 4 cups torn watercress or baby arugula
- 1 dozen lightly beaten eggs
- salt and pepper to taste
- rye toast
1. Heat canola oil in a large skillet. Add onion and cook until softened, about 5 minutes.
2 Add salami and cook until lightly browned, about 2 minutes.
3. Add watercress and cook until just wilted, about 1 minute.
4. Add eggs, season with salt and pepper. Cook until eggs are softly set, about 2 minutes.
Transfer to plates and serve right away with rye toast.
Egg in a Bagel Hole
This caught my eye as a great idea for company brunch. It was created by the fourth-generation owner of Russ & Daughters, Niki Russ Federman, and her cousin, Josh Russ Tupper, who run and operate five restaurants in New York.
- 2 split everything bagels
- 4 Tablespoons softened unsalted butter
- 4 large eggs
- 2 Tablespoons water
- salt and pepper to taste
- 4 ounces cold smoked salmon
- caviar or sliced avocado
1. Carefully widen holes in bagel halves to 1¾ inches in diameter using a paring knife. Spread bagel halves evenly on both sides with butter.
2. Heat a skillet. Place bagel halves, cut sides up, in skillet. Cook until golden brown, 2-3 minutes.
3. Flip bagel halves to cut sides down. Crack eggs into bagel holes. Pour 2 tablespoons water around edge of skillet and cover. Cook until egg whites are set and yolks are cooked to desired degree of doneness, 5 to 8 minutes.
Transfer bagel halves to a plate, season with salt and pepper. Serve with smoked salmon and caviar or sliced avocado.
Sybil Kaplan is a journalist, author, compiler/contributor/editor of nine kosher cookbooks (working on a 10th) and food writer for North American Jewish publications. She lives in Jerusalem where she has led weekly walks of the Jewish food market, Machaneh Yehudah, in English since 2009. She wrote the kosher Jerusalem restaurant features for Janglo.net, the oldest, largest website for English speakers from 2014 to 2020.