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How to Make Michael Solomonov's Shakshouka

The Middle Eastern egg dish is popular for good reason: It's filling, flavorful and incredibly easy to make. Here's a step-by-step from the man who has helped put Israeli food on the map.

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In the Kitchen with: Michael Solomonov

"I'm an apron guy," says Michael Solomonov, dismissing the offer of a chef's coat and folding back his cuffs to reveal a new pomegranate tattoo. This approachable attitude extends to the recipes in the James Beard Award winner's new book, Zahav: A World of Israeli Cooking. Not only does it showcase the elevated Middle Eastern classics he serves at his restaurant by the same name (his Crispy Halloumi with Dates, Walnuts and Apples is legendary), but it also includes the casual, feel-good food he feeds his family and friends at home. Case in point: the Shakshouka Solomonov whipped up for us during a recent visit to Food Network Kitchen. "It's fun to eat in large groups, and it's easy to make," he explains of the popular dish of eggs poached in tomato stew. In Solomonov's version, the vegetables play as important a role as the protein. Here's how he does it.

Photography by Heather Ramsdell

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Go Big

"You want the peppers and onions to be part of the dish, so cut them large — not small like in huevos rancheros," says Solomonov. "They are big enough to help scoop up the sauce." He eschews the red peppers many shakshouka recipes call for in favor of the green variety. "They get a bad rap. But my grandmother would use green peppers for stuffed peppers. They have their place. We're going to be using dried pimento, which is the essence of red pepper, and the tomato for sweetness, so why not one green pepper?"

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Don't Rush It

Solomonov lets the vegetables cook down slowly. "You don't want it al dente with pieces of raw onion floating in the tomato sauce," he says. Early in the process he throws in salt, "to help leach out the moisture. It helps the onions steam" without browning. A cast-iron skillet is his go-to for this dish: "It holds heat very well for serving," he explains. "You can't transfer shakshouka. You want it in a shallow pan."

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Let the Spices Cook

As the vegetables begin to soften, Solomonov adds seasonings. "Dried lime is not traditional," he says, rubbing the nutlike globe on a rasp grater. "It's only used in shakshouka in Israel. It kind of wakes it up." Next, paprika and coriander go in. "The spices are soaking up a little of the fat," he says. "But be careful, because they have a tendency to burn."

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