7 July 2016
Turkey has turned the first meal of the day into an art form with ever-more elaborate spreads of cheeses, jams, honey, olives, tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers and egg dishes spilling across the table with different regions of the country bringing local additions to the mix.
At the heart of the breakfast there is usually an egg dish – often a soft-boiled or fried egg, or a speciality dish such as menemen, a hearty scramble of eggs, onions peppers and tomatoes.
In Datça, the köy, or village, breakfast can come with lashings of local honey and gözleme, a pancake filled with white cheese and fresh herbs. The Van Breakfast, originating in the east of the country, has conquered the rest of Turkey with its array of 20 or more dishes. It includes otlu peynir, a herb-infused cheese, martuğa, made from flour, butter and egg, and kavut, a porridge made from cornmeal and ground barley.
This week on Knidos Cookery Club, we’ll be cooking up menemen. I first encountered this breakfast-time treat when staying in Izmir, on the Aegean coast. Walking out of my hotel, I was met be the mouth-watering aroma of eggs bubbling away with peppers and tomatoes. Street hawkers, hunched over single-burner camping stoves, were busily whipping up pans of scrambled delight.
Ingredients (for one hearty serving)
One spring onion
One small red or green pepper (if you like it hot, use a chili pepper)
One small tomato
Seasoning: pinches of salt, black pepper, cumin and chill pepper flakes
Parsley for garnishing
Olive oil for frying
Heat the oil in a small frying pan. Add the diced spring onion and cook over a medium heat until starting to brown. Add the diced tomato and diced pepper and season with salt, black pepper, cumin and chill pepper flakes.
Cook until the peppers begin to soften then reduce to a low heat and crack in the eggs. Keep stirring as you would for scrambled eggs. When the egg begins to set, remove from the heat – it’ll carry on cooking in the pan. Garnish with some chopped parsley.
Serve immediately with crusty bread and a plate of white cheese, honey, olives, tomatoes, cucumbers and peppers for the full-on Turk brekkie effect.