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article imageOp-Ed: Simple eggs made Mediterranean style Special

By Jonathan Farrell     Jul 4, 2011 in Food
San Francisco - This morning for 4th of July, this reporter wanted to make breakfast, simple but enticing enough for the sudden and unexpected guests, that stopped by. Actually, they were extended family members. Still everyone needed a holiday breakfast.
Based upon the “Moonstruck” style of eggs idea, this reporter used some fresh basil, fresh oregano, garlic, olives and onion along with a few pieces of bread, cut small like croutons, not more than three or four.
If desired use an entire slice of bread. Then, make a small hole in the center to drop the egg; just as it was done in the 1987 movie “Moonstruck.”
Perhaps the first and most important step is to sauté the onions, garlic, and herbs, etc. very gently. Using some culinary imagination, one can add other items like zucchini, bell pepper, capers and so on. The Mediterranean covers a wide area of at least 15 or so distinctive cultures besides the Italian and Greek, that Westerners are accustomed to. So, there is room for lots of creative variations.
But for this reporter, it is only the basics and most easily obtainable at the local produce market down the street, which is 22nd Ave & Irving Produce in the heart of the Sunset District of San Francisco.
On any day shopping there one can find literally a cornucopia of fresh vegetables and fruits locally grown. 22nd Ave & Irving Produce market also has a variety of imported items from all over the world. Yet, the produce the market offers is among the best in the City.
Kalamata olive is one item that this reporter purchases frequently and the delicious olive is a stable in most Mediterranean dishes. That seems to be the key-ingredient in making ordinary eggs, wonderful as a breakfast meal, especially if you wamt to make something easy and delicious for guests. And, in the process make a good impression upon them.
Along with the Kalamata olive, this reporter likes to use shallots (part of the onion family). Shallots are small and very strong, but when sautéed, are rich with flavor.
Using fresh basil and oregano is also important and key-ingredient but if not available then use the dry bottled kind from the shelf.
In medium to low heat pan, sauté the olives, onions, garlic, and so forth in olive oil and just a bit of butter. Butter makes it more flavorful. This reporter recommends using a bit of white wine to help in the sautéing. Yet vary the amount according to taste and dietary needs.
Note: if counting calories, this recipe is not exactly in the low-fat category. But with all the wonderful, fresh ingredients, it might fit into the wholesome and nutritious category. And, definitely this can fit into the “delicious” section of any recipe book.
After sautéing the fresh ingredients, make room in the pan for the eggs. If making the egg plain sunny-side up (not “Moonstruck” style), simply crack open the shell and let drop gently. If yoke breaks in the process, oh well! Just let it be!
Make sure there is enough room in the pan for the eggs to expand, and not let it disturb the sautéed ingredients. Keep heat-flame low on stove at this point. Add a bit more oil or butter to prevent from sticking to pan. Be careful not to let ingredients burn, especially the herbs and onions (or shallots).
When using fresh oregano and basil, this reporter found it best to use only the leaves. Oregano leaves are small and removing them from the stem is tedious, but worth it. The flavor, as well as the aroma of fresh oregano & basil is outstanding.
If not enthusiastic about frying eggs, then make eggs pouched style over hot boiling water. But please do place the sautéed ingredients either over or along side the pouched egg. The sautéed ingredients make any style egg come alive with flavor.
Serve with fresh hummus (which is basically garbanzo bean dip) and tabouli (a salad made of finely chopped parsley and cucumbers) on the plate. Many delicatessens offer fresh made hummus and tabouli. Some times it is spelled as tabbouleh on some menus.
The favorite spot for this reporter to get hummus and tabouli is at Sunrise Deli on Irving Street which is almost right next-door to 22nd Ave & Irving Produce.
Hummus and tabouli are surprisingly are a very nice and tasty compliment to eggs, just like corned-beef hash and potatoes.
Oh and for those who like to dip bread, take a slice of bread, such as sourdough or in keeping with the Mediterranean theme, some Ciabatta bread and soak in the drippings left over in the pan.
The flavors are wonderful and makes for a very gratifying piece of toast to accompany the breakfast plate.
If having guests over for breakfast or brunch, they will be amazed by the flavor and deliciousness. And, they will probably not consider the eggs “simple” and ordinary at all, but extraordinary.
For scrambled, simply take the mixed eggs and stir in with sautéed ingredients. This reporter looked at several other Mediterranean style recipes on line for eggs and they do vary. Yet surprisingly, use of Kalamata olives or shallots was not mentioned.
Yet, this reporter discovered that Kalamata olives especially are a major flavor, along with the basil and oregano and onion (or shallots).
For an omelet it is best to use a separate pan to fry the mixed eggs as an omelet, more room in the pan. Sprinkle some Parmesan, Romano or Feta cheese on omelet either while it is cooking or there after when set on the plate.
Here is another flavor enhancing ingredient. Most people like to use a bit of milk or cream for scrambling eggs and omelets. Try Kiefer cheese.
It has a consistency that is like a combination of yogurt, cream cheese and sour cream. Yet, the flavor is outstanding. Use just about a teaspoon amount and stir in with eggs while beating them with a fork or a whisk.
Some Kiefer cheese varieties are made probiotic, which for some people in their dietary routines that is beneficial.
To compliment the Mediterranean theme even further instead of serving the usual orange juice with breakfast, try a small glass of pomegranate juice with a twist of fresh lime. Pomegranate juice in various forms and brands is becoming very popular lately and variations of it can be found in most supermarkets.
Whether fried, sunny side up scrambled or as an omelet adding a bit of a Mediterranean flavor to eggs is a way to make eggs for breakfast a real treat, especially for a holiday or when guests arrive suddenly.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of DigitalJournal.com
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