Shakshuka Brunch
December 11, 2017 7:42 AM   Subscribe

I'm hosting brunch and making shakshuka! What else should I serve?

Hi everyone - I'm hosting my first brunch this weekend and I'm planning on making Chef John's Shakshuka! Do you have any other suggestions for what else I could make for brunch to go along with it? There will be 7 or 8 folks total and I live in the NoVa area so I can probably get my hands on anything but I'm not trying to kill my budget to make it super fancy, in fact the more rustic the better! I just want to make sure theres enough food and variety to keep everyone happy.

To complicate things a bit I'll be out both Friday and Saturday night so I'm looking for things I can prep ahead of time and cook/assemble the morning of the brunch (I'll have at least 3 to 4 hours in the morning). I'm planning on cutting up everything for the shakshuka on Saturday.

I'd like to make a citrus/date/mint salad of sorts and mint tea but otherwise I'm stumped as to what else to serve. If you leave a suggestion please let me know what I can prepare ahead of time and what should wait until the morning!
posted by driedmango to Food & Drink (21 answers total) 14 users marked this as a favorite
Your favorite bread, purchased.
posted by fingersandtoes at 7:45 AM on December 11, 2017 [7 favorites]

Yes to the salad; I was going to say some kind of fruit, but that would do it.

I would add some simple bread/pastry kind of item - maybe a loaf of nice bread people can toast up, and a couple of spreads (butter, a couple kinds of jam), coffee, and some kind of juice. That way if people aren't savory breakfast people, the fruit and bread have them covered.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 7:46 AM on December 11, 2017

Response by poster: Forgot to add - already planning to have bread to serve with the shakshuka
posted by driedmango at 7:47 AM on December 11, 2017 [2 favorites]

Ooh, yogurt wouldn't be a bad idea. A little plain, and a little mixed-berry or something.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 7:51 AM on December 11, 2017

Not just yogurt but labne!
posted by moonmilk at 7:58 AM on December 11, 2017 [8 favorites]

You might go with a bean spread or salad like hummus, ful mudammas (see also Syrian style), Balela, or Fassoulia.

My favorite breakfast place is half middle-eastern and their go-to breakfast side is toasted banana bread, which is especially satisfying for some reason after a tomato-saucey breakfast.
posted by Lyn Never at 8:08 AM on December 11, 2017 [5 favorites]

What a delicious idea for a brunch!
Look at an Israeli breakfast for inspiration.
Another staple from that region is ful medames I always have a can in my cupboard, made from scratch are better, but as it says in the story, those from cans are really fine when they have been flavored and are served with fresh lemon juice and parsley.
posted by mumimor at 8:08 AM on December 11, 2017 [5 favorites]

With the bread, I usually make roasted garlic to spread on it. I usually use already peeled-throw a bunch in a small oven proof bowl, drizzle a bunch of olive oil and salt pepper, cover with him foil and put in 350-400f oven for 30-45 min. Done when golden brown and soft. Then mush w a fork and serve the oil/garlic paste to top pita or other bread.
posted by atomicstone at 8:31 AM on December 11, 2017

Cucumber salad goes great with Shakshuka.
posted by Dr. Twist at 8:47 AM on December 11, 2017 [11 favorites]

When we did a shakshuka brunch I also made sure to get some nova lox, cheese, cream cheese, and capers, in case some of our guests wanted to skip the shakshuka and just make a sandwich. And my husband made up an apple tart beforehand for dessert. In the end everyone loved the shakshuka - delicious brunch!
posted by ldthomps at 8:52 AM on December 11, 2017 [2 favorites]

I went to a shakshuka brunch once where they served homemade pita along with it and it was TRANSCENDENT.
posted by quiet coyote at 9:24 AM on December 11, 2017

Israeli breakfast looks a whole lot like Moroccan breakfast which is what I was going to suggest. Olives, pickled veg, honey, soft spreadable goat cheese, salted butter. Plus flatbread which, as breads go, is pretty easy to DIY.
posted by supercres at 9:28 AM on December 11, 2017 [3 favorites]

Inspired by the version in Turkey and Kurdistan called menemen, I would serve lots of good bread, and any of the following: several kinds of Middle Eastern cheese (for instance, a nice feta); a salad of diced cucumbers and tomatoes; olives; yogurt; butter. Yum.
posted by a sourceless light at 9:28 AM on December 11, 2017 [1 favorite]

The bread should be pita (the thinner the better in my experience), it should be warmed in the oven for a few minutes, and some of it should be liberally sprinkled with olive oil and zaatar.
posted by Homeboy Trouble at 10:13 AM on December 11, 2017

My favorite brunch place serves it garnished with arugula with a remoulade-type dressing. The crisp pepperiness of the arugula and the creaminess of the remoulade complement the shakshuka nicely.
posted by Lexica at 11:06 AM on December 11, 2017

Something sweet ... some kind pastries with cinnamon, almonds, or apricots would probably go well as a 'breakfast dessert'.
posted by Green Eyed Monster at 12:08 PM on December 11, 2017

It's not particularly on theme, but I like cheesy polenta and braised greens with shakshuka.
posted by ottereroticist at 12:31 PM on December 11, 2017 [1 favorite]

Definitely olives. A watermelon and mint salad would work well too.
posted by the duck by the oboe at 2:40 PM on December 11, 2017 [2 favorites]

If you are unsure as to whether people have dietary restrictions, allergies and the like, it would be useful to have a couple of other choices. Bread is good (as long as people are not gluten-intolerant) and a choice of hard or soft cheese (as long as you don't have vegans). I would also suggest:

Watermelon, rosewater & pistachio salad - this is super easy and tastes like fruity Turkish delight. Cut your watermelon into chunks. Slosh over about 1/3 - 1/2 cup of rosewater (depending on how much watermelon you have). Stir. Leave to soak for a while, preferably overnight. Just before serving, chop up some natural pistachios (not salted or roasted) and scatter over the top.

Chickpea & tomato salad - drain a couple of cans of chickpeas. Add a diced/finely chopped tomato. Zest a lemon in, then squeeze in the lemon juice. If you have a mortar and pestle, toast some whole coriander and cumin seeds briefly in a dry frying pan, then grind in mortar and pestle and add. Otherwise you can just use pre-ground. Add some salt and pepper and a little slosh of olive oil.

Both those salads are vegan and gluten-free and FODMAP friendly. Can you tell I have some experience with catering for food restrictions?
posted by Athanassiel at 2:43 PM on December 11, 2017 [3 favorites]

Malawach. Wow, I haven't thought about malawach since I lived in LA. I am not linking to a recipe because I've never made it from scratch (and so can't vouch for any particular recipe) but there appear to be several, easily enough found via google. It is Yemeni but according to the wikipedia page on shakshouka that may be Yemeni too. And both are common in Israel now.

In reality it is likely too greasy for modern American taste (at least the kind I had in LA was) and pita is probably a better choice, but it seems worth mentioning for completeness.
posted by 2 cats in the yard at 6:09 PM on December 11, 2017

If you decide to do vegetables these carrots are great but really you can't go wrong with any Michael Solomonov side dish recipe.
posted by colorblock sock at 7:49 PM on December 11, 2017

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