Ah, brunch. The oft-photographed meal between breakfast and lunch is the lifeblood of fashion and food bloggers. So when one comes across a recipe that's both Instagrammable and highly delicious, it's a social media home run. Enter Jack's Wife Freda. The American-Mediterranean restaurant in downtown New York City—Soho and the West Village, to be exact—boasts a menu replete with dishes begging to be uploaded, from rosewater waffles to poached eggs with haloumi. But the reigning star of the breakfast offerings is without doubt the green shakshuka.
For the uninitiated, shakshuka (pronounced shahk-shoo-ka), is a traditional Middle Eastern dish made of eggs baked in a tomato sauce—and one that co-owner Maya Jankelowitz grew up eating in Israel. Jack's Wife Freda's variation on the classic incorporates tomatillos and toasted challah, because, let's be real, everything tastes better with a little spice and a loaf or two of fresh bread.
Read on for the recipe, prominently featured in Jack Wife Freda's new cookbook Jack's Wife Freda: Cooking from New York's West Village ($16; amazon.com), out now from Blue Rider Press.
1 large Spanish onion
6 garlic cloves
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 ½ tablespoons kosher salt
1 ½ pounds tomatillos
1 green bell pepper
1 jalapeño chili
½ cup packed fresh cilantro leaves
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1-3 tablespoons hot sauce
1-2 eggs, per person
Chopped fresh parsley, for garnish
Toasted challah or French brioche, for serving
How to Make It
1. Preheat the oven to 300°F.
2. Peel and quarter the onion and place with the garlic cloves in a small baking dish. Drizzle with the olive oil and ½ teaspoon of the salt. Cover with aluminum foil and bake for 30 minutes, or until very soft when pierced with a knife. (The onion and garlic can be prepared ahead of time.)
3. In a large bowl, soak the tomatillos in warm water to peel off the outer husk, then cut in half. Cut the stem from the bell pepper, discard the seeds, and cut into quarters. Also cut the stem from the jalapeno, discard the seeds, and quarter.
4. Place the peeled tomatillos, bell pepper, jalapeno, and cilantro leaves in a food processor with the roasted onion and garlic. Process until very smooth; it will have a salsa-like consistency.
5. Transfer to a medium saucepan. Add the coriander, cumin, and remaining 1 teaspoon salt. Bring to a simmer over medium-high heat and cook for 2 to 3 minutes, or until the tomatillo sauce is heated through. Be careful not to cook too long or your sauce will discolor and the taste will change. Add 1 tablespoon of hot sauce at a time until you’ve hit your desired spice level.
6. To assemble the shakshuka: Oil a cast-iron pan and set it over low heat. Crack the desired number of eggs into the pan and cover. Allow the eggs to cook sunny-side up until the whites are fully cooked but the yolks remain soft (you can of course cook the yolks through if that is your preference).
7. Once the eggs are cooked, liberally spoon the shakshuka sauce on top of the eggs and garnish with chopped parsley. Serve with toasted challah or French brioche.