Sephardic Recipes With A Modern Twist

Sephardic Spice Girls

Sunny-Side Up: Egg Recipes Packed With Sephardic Flavor


There’s nothing more delicious than eggs enhanced with sautéed onions, bright green herbs and fresh vegetables.


Moroccan megina, Tunisian ma’akoud, Spanish tortilla, Persian ku’kuu, Iraqi aj’a, frittata. Whatever you call it, there’s nothing more delicious than eggs enhanced with sautéed onions, bright green herbs and fresh vegetables.

The soufflé de patata calls for sautéed onions, parsley and mashed potatoes. Some cooks add peas and chopped carrots. This dish is common to the cuisine of North African Sephardic communities, where it is variously called megina or ma’akoud.
Ku’kuu and a’ja are omelets that include sautéed onion and fresh herbs, like parsley cilantro, basil and tarragon. They are common in the cuisine of the Middle East. Adding broccoli and spinach make these yummy omelets an even richer source of antioxidants and nutrition.

On Shabbat, there can be nothing more delightful than a sumptuously lazy lunch in a sunny backyard. These delicious and nutritious dishes fit the menu perfectly because they can be served warm or cold. Just add a cool pitcher of fruity sangria, a freshly baked challah and a green salad for culinary perfection.

Sharon’s Frittata

1 large onion, finely diced
1 purple onion, finely diced
1/2 teaspoon sugar
2 leeks, finely sliced
10 eggs
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1 bunch fresh Italian parsley, finely chopped
2 plum tomatoes, finely chopped
1 cup broccoli, finely chopped
1 cup baby spinach, finely chopped
Safflower oil for frying

Caramelize onions with sugar, set aside to cool.
Sauté leeks and add to onions.
In large bowl, beat eggs, then add spices and seasonings.
Combine eggs with parsley, tomatoes, broccoli, spinach and onion-leek mixture.
In large frying pan, heat oil.

Pour in mixture to make 1 large frittata or 2 medium omelets.

Serves 10.

Tortilla de Patata

1 large onion, finely diced
8  large Russet potatoes, peeled and quartered
1 dozen eggs
1 bunch fresh Italian parsley, finely chopped
1 tablespoon turmeric
Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
1/2 cup vegetable oil, for frying

Squeeze of lemon, for serving

Boil potatoes and coarsely  mash, leaving a few chunks.

Preheat oven to 400 F.
Sauté onions till golden, set aside.
In large bowl, lightly beat eggs, then add parsley and seasonings.
Add warm mashed potatoes and combine all ingredients.
In deep, heavy frying pan, heat oil and pour mixture into pan.
When it is sizzling, lower flame, cover and cook for 30 minutes.
Wrap pan handle in foil and bake until top turns golden brown.
Cool for 20 minutes, then flip onto serving dish.

Serve with a squeeze of lemon.

Serves 10-12.


Rachel Sheff’s family roots are Spanish Moroccan. Sharon Gomperts’ family hails from Baghdad and El Azair in Iraq. Known as the Sephardic Spice Girls, they have  collaborated on the Sephardic Educational Center’s projects,  SEC Food Group and  community cooking classes. Join them on Facebook at SEC FOOD.