Eggs – whether the chocolate or the coloured variety – are traditionally associated with Easter, which this year falls on Sunday March 31. A local favourite egg dish is shakshouka, a breakfast favourite of spicy baked eggs, originating from Tunisia and popular throughout North Africa. Dubai certainly enjoys its fair share of eggs throughout the year: new Al Wasl Square venue Pantry Café gets through an average of 1,000 eggs during a week of breakfast services.
Exploring a variety of ways to use the humble egg, we’ve taken a few lessons from Dubai’s chefs, learning how to make dishes including shakshouka, a creative British egg dish and a traditional sweet Easter treat from Greece.
Cooked by Chef Samuel Haurissa at Pantry Café.
‘I really enjoy eating shakshouka because of the intense flavour from the spices, which is rare in egg recipes. It’s traditionally spicy, although you can reduce the number of chillies. This is a versatile dish: you can tweak it to your taste using different cheese, such as cheddar or emmental instead of feta, or by adding button mushrooms, spinach or even spicy chorizo. It’s easy to prepare: it can be ready in 20 minutes. The trick is not to over-bake the eggs, otherwise they become chewy.’
What’s your favourite egg dish?
‘Scrambled eggs with cheese – a quick and easy comfort food.’
4 free-range organic eggs
40g chopped red onions
10g chopped garlic
80g thinly sliced red bell peppers
4g cumin powder
10g chopped jalapeños
4g coarse salt
60ml extra-virgin olive oil
400g chopped organic tomatoes 4g fresh parsley
20g feta cheese
2 pieces of pitta bread
Pinch of chilli powder
1 Preheat the oven to 220°C.
2 Heat a skillet pan over a medium heat and add the extra-virgin olive oil. When the oil is heated, add the chopped onions, garlic and red peppers, and sauté gently until soft.
3 Add the chopped jalapeños and tomatoes, and stir. Sprinkle the chilli powder and cumin powder over the mixture.
4 Season with a little salt to taste, then add half of the chopped parsley to the pan.
5 Continue cooking until the tomatoes become soft.
6 Crack the eggs straight into the pan, then remove the pan from the heat.
7 Place the pan into the oven. Bake for two minutes at 220°C, until the eggs are cooked.
8 Take the pan out of the oven. Sprinkle with crumbled feta cheese and the remaining chopped parsley.
9 Serve straight away and in the pan, placing a table mat underneath it to protect your table. 10 Serve with the pitta bread on the side.
Pantry Café, Al Wasl Square, Al Wasl Road, Jumeirah (04 388 3868).
Hen’s egg on creamed potato and spinach with blue cheese dressing
Cooked by chef Christopher Driver at Alfie’s.
‘I was inspired by classic dish eggs Florentine – I adapted the recipe around it. The recipe is simple and easy to prepare: it’s vegetarian, but when I cook this
at home, I like to add meat or fish. You can adapt the recipe by adding veal bacon or crispy fried chicken, and you could also replace the blue cheese with cheddar or goat’s cheese.’
What’s your favourite egg dish?
‘Scrambled eggs on toast with lots of butter, although I’m partial to fried eggs with a big English breakfast.’
2 organic eggs
80g fresh green peas
60g diced tomato
40ml olive oil
20g salad leaves
2g crushed black pepper
15g Isle of Arran blue cheese 150g potato
120g baby spinach
20ml white grape vinegar
10g Pommery mustard
1 Start by making creamy mashed potato: bring a pan of salted water to the boil, add the potatoes and simmer until fully cooked. Strain the water and pass the potatoes through a fine sieve.
2 Mix the sieved potatoes with cream and butter, and season with salt and pepper to your taste. Use a whisk to blend this mixture together until smooth and creamy.
3 Make the blue cheese dressing by blending the blue cheese with the vinegar, olive oil, sugar, salt and pepper.
4 Poach the eggs very slowly and gently in a pan of clarified butter. Once cooked, set the eggs aside until ready to serve.
5 Sauté the spinach in olive oil and season with salt and pepper.
6 The dish is now ready to assemble. Place the creamed potato on the plate, with the sautéed spinach on top, then top with the egg. Pour the blue cheese dressing over the egg.
7 Garnish with the green peas, diced tomato and salad leaves, and serve immediately.
Alfie’s, Jumeirah Emirates Towers Boulevard, Sheikh Zayed Road (04 319 8785).
Cooked by chef Philippe Agnese at Atlantis The Palm.
‘Tsoureki is a traditional Easter recipe in Greece, made by many families during the period. The main flavour of the dish comes from the orange blossom essence, which signifies the coming of spring in Greece. However, there are many variations of tsoureki, using different flavourings. Feel free to play around with tastes and aromas with spices and fruits, such as aniseed, cardamom or cinnamon, but remember to allow adequate time for the dough to rest after kneading and before baking. I enjoy eating this bread for breakfast, dipped in hot chocolate.’
What’s your favourite egg dish?
‘A quiche with a creamy filling and buttery crust – the perfect dish to satisfy my appetite.’
6 egg yolks
500g bread flour
15g fresh yeast (approximately 5-6g dry yeast)
150g warm milk
250g soft butter
Zest of half a lemon
A dash of orange blossom essence
1 Start by dyeing the eggs. Add a few drops of food colouring to a bowl of water and leave the uncooked eggs to soak overnight.
2 To prepare the dough, mix together the yeast, four tablespoons of flour and the warm milk.
3 Cover the mixture and set aside for 45 minutes to one hour.
4 Put the remaining flour and the rest of the ingredients (aside from the butter) in a bowl.
5 Knead this mixture into a dough, until it has a smooth consistency.
6 Add the soft butter to the dough and knead gently until it is all well incorporated.
7 Cover the dough and leave it to rest in the fridge for at least two to four hours, or overnight if needed.
8 Once the dough has rested, divide it into two pieces and roll each half into a long sausage-like shape.
9 Start weaving together the two pieces of dough to form a rough plait.
10 Place the three uncooked and coloured eggs onto the dough.
11 Cover the dough and allow to rise in a warm place for 45 minutes to one hour. The dough should rise around the eggs.
12 Brush the dough with a little beaten egg and bake at 180°C for 20 minutes, or until the crust is nicely browned all over.
The Atlantis Easter Shop is open March 22-April 5. Atlantis The Palm, Palm Jumeirah (04 426 2626).
More Easter treats
Easter isn’t just about eggs: we’ve selected some more unusual sweet items to enjoy.
Atlantis Easter Shop
Last year the sweet-themed Easter pop-up shop at Atlantis featured a giant walk-in Easter egg. This year staff will be creating a 65cm milk chocolate bunny, plus a selection of more modestly sized bunnies in poses such as playing a drum, or in a cart.
Dhs360 (giant bunny). Atlantis The Palm, Palm Jumeirah (04 426 2626).
Can’t decide between chocolate Easter eggs and cake? How about an egg-shaped chocolate and pistachio cake? The cakes on offer at French Bakery are bordered with macaroons for an added bonus.
Dhs19 per slice. Jumeirah, near interchange 1, Sheikh Zayed Road (04 343 6444).
Not to be outdone by giant eggs and bunnies, the patisserie has launched a range of chocolate chickens, including modest mini chickens for Dhs8 and a giant 60cm wide chocolate rooster.
Dhs250 for 60cm rooster. Le Méridien Dubai, Garhoud (04 217 0000).