Egyptian Eggah with Ground Beef and Spinach

Precooking the filling before adding it to the beaten eggs ensures that our Egyptian omelet is evenly cooked.

Egyptian Eggah with Ground Beef and Spinach
SERVES 4 to 6 FAST
WHY THIS RECIPE WORKS Eggah , the Arabic answer to Spanish tortilla, often features boldly spiced fillings in a hearty egg base. We started by choosing traditional Egyptian fillings of ground beef, spinach, and leeks. Using 90 percent lean ground beef ensured that our eggah didn’t turn out greasy, and precooking the spinach in the microwave eliminated any excess moisture that could leave the dish soggy. A mixture of cumin, cinnamon, and cilantro enhanced the North African flavor profile. We precooked our filling and let it cool slightly before adding it to the beaten eggs. To cook our eggah, we borrowed a technique from our tortilla recipe (here ), in which we cook the egg mixture in a hot skillet and then flip it halfway through using two plates. Eggah can be served hot, warm, or at room temperature. You will need a 10-inch nonstick skillet with a tight-fitting lid for this recipe.

8 ounces (8 cups) baby spinach
6 tablespoons water
4 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 pound leeks, whites and light green parts only, halved lengthwise, sliced thin, and washed thoroughly
8 ounces 90 percent lean ground beef
1 garlic clove, minced
1 teaspoon ground cumin
¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
Salt and pepper
8 large eggs
¼ cup minced fresh cilantro

1. Place spinach and ¼ cup water in large bowl, cover, and microwave until spinach is wilted and decreased in volume by about half, about 5 minutes. Remove bowl from microwave and keep covered for 1 minute. Transfer spinach to colander and gently press to release liquid. Transfer spinach to cutting board and chop coarse. Return to colander and press again.
2. Heat 1 teaspoon oil in 10-inch nonstick skillet over medium heat until shimmering. Add leeks and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Add ground beef and cook, breaking up meat with wooden spoon, until beginning to brown, 5 to 7 minutes. Stir in garlic, cumin, cinnamon, ½ teaspoon salt, and ¼ teaspoon pepper and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Stir in spinach until heated through, about 1 minute; transfer to bowl and let cool slightly.
3. Beat eggs, remaining 2 tablespoons water, ½ teaspoon salt, and ¼ teaspoon pepper together with fork in large bowl until thoroughly combined and mixture is pure yellow; do not overbeat. Gently fold in spinach mixture and cilantro, making sure to scrape all of spinach mixture out of skillet.
4. Heat remaining 1 tablespoon oil in now-empty skillet over medium-high heat until just smoking. Add egg mixture and cook, shaking skillet and folding mixture constantly for 15 seconds. Smooth top of egg mixture, reduce heat to medium, cover, and cook, gently shaking skillet every 30 seconds, until bottom is golden brown and top is lightly set, about 3 minutes.
5. Off heat, run heat-resistant rubber spatula around edge of skillet and shake skillet gently to loosen eggah; it should slide around freely in skillet. Slide eggah onto large plate, then invert onto second large plate and slide back into skillet browned side up. Tuck edges of eggah into skillet with rubber spatula. Continue to cook over medium heat, gently shaking skillet every 30 seconds, until second side is golden brown, about 2 minutes. Slide eggah onto cutting board and let cool slightly. Slice and serve hot, warm, or at room temperature.

Broccoli and Feta Frittata
SERVES 6 FAST VEG
WHY THIS RECIPE WORKS Hearty and simple, a frittata can make a great breakfast, lunch, or dinner. We found that the key to achieving the best texture was to use a combination stovetop-oven method. Stirring the eggs as they began to set on the stovetop was crucial to prevent the bottom of the frittata from overcooking; transferring the skillet to the oven allowed the eggs to gently cook through in the even heat. A small amount of milk helped the eggs stay tender without making them so delicate that they couldn’t support the filling. As for our flavorful additions, we settled on several Mediterranean combinations: hearty broccoli with tangy feta and a bit of lemon zest; grassy asparagus with earthy goat cheese and fresh mint; and cremini mushrooms with nutty sherry vinegar and Pecorino. You will need a 12-inch ovensafe nonstick skillet for this recipe. These frittatas can be served hot, warm, or at room temperature.

12 large eggs
⅓ cup whole milk
Salt
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
12 ounces broccoli florets, cut into ½-inch pieces (3½ to 4 cups)
Pinch red pepper flakes
3 tablespoons water
½ teaspoon grated lemon zest plus ½ teaspoon juice
4 ounces feta cheese, crumbled into ½-inch pieces (1 cup)

1. Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 350 degrees. Beat eggs, milk, and ½ teaspoon salt together with fork in bowl until thoroughly combined and mixture is pure yellow; do not overbeat.
2. Heat oil in 12-inch nonstick skillet over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add broccoli, pepper flakes, and ¼ teaspoon salt and cook, stirring frequently, until broccoli is crisp-tender and spotty brown, 7 to 9 minutes. Add water and lemon zest and juice and continue to cook, stirring constantly, until broccoli is just tender and no water remains in skillet, about 1 minute.
3. Add feta and egg mixture and, using heat-resistant rubber spatula, constantly and firmly scrape along bottom and sides of skillet until large curds form and spatula begins to leave trail on bottom of skillet but eggs are still very wet, about 30 seconds. Smooth curds into even layer and let cook without stirring for 30 seconds. Transfer skillet to oven and bake until frittata is slightly puffy and surface bounces back when lightly pressed, 6 to 9 minutes. Using rubber spatula, loosen frittata from skillet and transfer to cutting board. Let sit for 5 minutes before slicing and serving.

VARIATIONS
Asparagus and Goat Cheese Frittata FAST VEG
This recipe works best with thin or standard-size asparagus spears.
Omit broccoli, pepper flakes, and water. Add 1 pound asparagus, trimmed and cut into ¼-inch lengths, lemon zest and juice, ¼ teaspoon salt, and ¼ teaspoon pepper to oil in step 2; cook, stirring frequently, until asparagus is crisp-tender, 3 to 4 minutes. Continue with step 3, substituting 1 cup crumbled goat cheese for feta and adding 2 tablespoons chopped fresh mint with goat cheese and egg mixture.

Mushroom and Pecorino Frittata FAST VEG
Substitute 1 pound cremini mushrooms, stemmed and cut into ½-inch pieces, for broccoli and ¼ teaspoon pepper for red pepper flakes. Reduce water to 2 tablespoons and substitute 2 minced scallion whites, 1½ teaspoons minced fresh thyme, and 1 tablespoon sherry vinegar for lemon juice and zest. Substitute ¾ cup shredded Pecorino Romano for feta and add 2 thinly sliced scallion greens with Pecorino and egg mixture.

Removing a Frittata from the Pan

Run spatula around skillet edge to loosen frittata, then carefully slide it out onto serving platter or cutting board.

Baked Eggs with Tomatoes, Feta, and Croutons
SERVES 6 VEG
WHY THIS RECIPE WORKS The classic Greek dish called avga feta domata consists of eggs baked in a bed of savory tomato sauce and croutons and topped with tangy feta cheese. For our version, we opted to use fresh cherry tomatoes and roast them to make our sauce. Tossing the tomatoes with a mixture of oil, garlic, oregano, tomato paste, and a bit of sugar and salt enhanced the tomato flavor and encouraged deep caramelization. To prevent our croutons from becoming a mushy, pasty mess, we baked pieces of crusty bread (coated with a judicious amount of olive oil) in the oven while the tomatoes roasted. Folding the croutons and tomatoes together after this initial stint in the oven helped ensure perfectly chewy croutons with slightly crunchy centers. By baking the eggs in wide, shallow divots in the tomato-crouton mixture, we exposed more of the egg whites’ surface area to the heat, allowing the whites to cook through before the yolks completely solidified. Letting the dish rest, covered, for just a few minutes before serving gave the eggs time to gently finish cooking. When it came to the cheese, tasters disliked the texture of baked feta, finding it rubbery and bland, so we simply sprinkled the feta on top just before serving. If you want your yolks fully cooked, bake until the whites are fully set before the resting period.

3 slices French or Italian bread, cut into ½-inch pieces (4 cups)
¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper
6 garlic cloves, sliced thin
5 teaspoons minced fresh oregano
2 teaspoons tomato paste
1 teaspoon sugar
2 pounds cherry tomatoes
6 large eggs
2 ounces feta cheese, crumbled (½ cup)

1. Adjust oven racks to upper-middle and lower-middle positions and heat oven to 450 degrees. Toss bread with 1 tablespoon oil in large bowl and season with salt and pepper. Spread bread into even layer in greased 13 by 9-inch baking dish; set aside.
2. Whisk garlic, 1 tablespoon oil, 1 tablespoon oregano, tomato paste, 1½ teaspoons salt, sugar, and ¼ teaspoon pepper together in large bowl. Add tomatoes and toss to combine. Transfer tomato mixture to parchment paper–lined rimmed baking sheet and push tomatoes toward center of sheet.
Scrape any remaining garlic and tomato paste from bowl into center of tomatoes; set bowl aside without washing.
3. Bake bread on upper rack and tomatoes on lower rack, stirring occasionally, until bread is golden and tomatoes begin to soften, about 10 minutes. Remove croutons from oven and let cool in dish. Continue to bake tomatoes until blistered and browned, about 10 minutes.
4. Add tomatoes and 1 tablespoon oil to croutons, gently fold to combine, and smooth into even layer. Make 6 shallow indentations (about 2 inches wide) in surface of bread-tomato mixture using back of spoon. Crack 1 egg into each indentation and season eggs with salt and pepper.
5. Bake until whites are just beginning to set but still have some movement when dish is shaken, 10 to 12 minutes. Transfer dish to wire rack, tent loosely with aluminum foil, and let sit for 5 minutes. Sprinkle with feta and remaining 2 teaspoons oregano and drizzle with remaining 1 tablespoon oil. Serve immediately.

 

 

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