Saturday, August 16, 2014

Ode to a Grecian Breakfast: A Recipe for Strapatsada

For as much as I hated eggs as a child (just ask my family about "Rachael's egg stories"), I can't believe that I'm actually blogging about this breakfast.  But it is so good and so quick and so easy, I simply have to.  It is called strapatsada: Greek scrambled eggs with tomatoes, feta, and oregano.  Chef Reiton saw it being made by Bittman on Times On Air, JetBlue's video magazine, and came home with the recipe written down on a airplane beverage napkin.  We tried them and--mamma mia! New favorite breakfast in the Reiton house!

To those of you who don't like eggs, give this recipe a shot.  I know this may sound strange considering you are technically eating scrambled eggs, but--it doesn't taste like eggs.  The whole concoction is a delicious blend of flavors and textures that oddly doesn't resemble American scrambled eggs at all.  Instead of being squishy and mild, strapatsada are tender and robust and herby.

This cooks together quickly, so have everything ready before you start.

You will need: a hand grater, a small bowl, a fork or a whisk, a small rubber spatula, a small non-stick pan.

To make a single serving, this is what I use (but you can multiply this times however many people you are serving):
  • 1 small tomato-on-the-vine tomato (or a plum tomato from the garden. Yum!)
  • 1 1/2-ish Tblsp. olive oil
  • 1 small garlic clove, minced or grated
  • 2 separate portions of crumbled plain feta cheese, 1 Tblsp. each (use less if this is too much for your taste)
  • 1/4 tsp. dried oregano, crushed or 1 tsp. fresh leaves, roughly chopped with a few as garnish
  • kosher salt and fresh cracked pepper
  • 2 eggs, whisked together until well-blended

1) Slice the very bottom off the tomato.  Hold the hand grater at an angle in the bowl, place the sliced bottom of the tomato against the grater, and then grate the tomato into the bowl.  As you slide the tomato up and down the grater, the skin will peel back and flatten out on the face of the grater and the flesh will squeeze through the holes into the bowl.  Set the pulp aside and toss the skin.

2) Heat the olive oil in a small non-stick pan and toss in the garlic for about 30 seconds.  Add the tomato pulp, salt and pepper to taste, and the oregano.  Bring to a boil, then turn the heat down so that the mixture is at a simmer, stirring occasionally.  Cook until you don't see any more water in the pan when you push the tomatoes to the side with the spatula.  You want to be only seeing the more viscous liquid of the olive oil left.  I would say give it a good 7 minutes or more, depending on the heat setting.

3) Add the eggs and one of the portions of feta cheese and start slowly stirring.  The tomatoes and the eggs will begin to blend.  Continue stirring until the eggs are opaque and have cooked mostly through, about 4 minutes.  They will finish cooking on the plate from the residual heat.  You will still see liquid in the pan, but this is from the oil and tomatoes, not the eggs.

4)  Plate your strapatsada, sprinkle with the second portion of feta and your oregano garnish, and dive in!

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