Berber Omelet

Deena Prichep for NPR - Berber Omelet
Deena Prichep for NPR – Berber Omelet

This recipe was taken from

This North African dish is in the same family as Israeli shakshouka or Italian uova in purgatorio, poaching eggs in a seasoned tomato sauce (and then sopping them up with some nice crusty bread). Ras al hanout spice mixture, an aromatic combination that varies shop to shop, would be the typical seasoning, but with just a few pinches of a few different spices you can create your own version. The tomato sauce can be made long in advance, allowing more time for the spices to infuse.

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, thickly sliced
  • 1/4 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 1/2 cups tomato puree
  • 6 cardamom pods
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 stick cinnamon
  • A few blades mace
  • 1 pinch saffron
  • 1 dried rosebud (optional)
  • 1 handful each chopped cilantro and parsley
  • 8 small green olives
  • 4 large eggs
  • Olive oil

Heat an oven-proof skillet over medium heat. (If you don’t have an oven-proof skillet, use whatever skillet you have, then transfer to ramekins or oven-safe containers before adding the eggs.) Add the oil and the garlic, and saute a few minutes, until the garlic becomes light golden.

Add the turmeric and paprika, and stir for a minute to toast. Then add the tomato puree, cardamom pods, bay leaf, cinnamon, mace, saffron and rosebud (if using). Simmer, stirring occasionally, for at least 10 minutes, until the tomato puree reduces somewhat and becomes infused with the seasoning.

When you’re ready to make the dish, preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Fish out the inedible aromatics from the tomato sauce, and adjust seasonings to taste. If you don’t have an oven-proof skillet, you can divide the sauce between two oven-safe ramekins or other containers at this point. Tuck the olives into the sauce.

Make four divots in the sauce, and crack an egg into each one. Drizzle with a bit of additional olive oil (or, if your friends have been kind enough to send it from Morocco, argan oil), and transfer to the oven. Bake until the whites are set and the yolks are runny (or firm, depending on your taste), 7 to 10 minutes. Sprinkle with salt, and serve with crusty bread for scooping.

Salt and pepper

Crusty bread for serving

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