Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Berber's Omelette

This is another great easy dish that I picked up a while ago. It's basically a very rich and succulent omelette eaten by the Berber people (the people indigenous to Northern Africa) living in Morrocco. It's traditionally eaten as breakfast, but of course, nothing is to stop you from enjoying this dish at some other part of the day. However, I really suggest you eat it as the Berbers/Moroccans do, that is by making enough of it so that you can share it with some friends. (btw, did you know Edith Piaf, the famous French singer-songwriter, was of Berber descent on her mother's side?)

What do you need?

1 large ripe tomato
1 large red onion
1 teaspoon of paprika (chillipowder)
1 teaspoon of turmeric
1 teaspoon of cumin
3 eggs
olive oil

You'll also need: a tajine cooking pot if you happen to have one, if not, a frying pan with a lid will do just fine

This will serve one or two. It's actually surprisingly filling, especially because of the copious amounts of fresh bread that you gobble this omelette down with.

What's next?

1. Chop up your tomato and onion in fine cubes. I tend to wait with chopping up my tomato until right before I add it to the rest of the ingredients. This way none of its juices will run off and be wasted.

2. Put an ample amount of olive oil in a frying pan and heat it up. When hot, add the chopped red onion, turmeric, cumin and paprika. Keep stirring until onion is glazy and has absorbed the spices.

3. Next, add the chopped tomato to the onion and herbs. Keep stirring over a low fire, so that eventually the whole turns into a thick mushy sauce. This should take only about 10 minutes or so.

4. Beat the eggs, yolks and eggwhites. Add salt and pepper to taste.

5. Once the sauce is ready, transfer it to the tajine, if you happen to have one. If not, just keep the sauce in the frying pan, spread it out somewhat evenly and add the three eggs. Simply pour the eggs on top of the sauce, and try to achieve an even spread of eggs and cover the frying pan with a lid. If you do have a tajine, just do exactly the same: just pour the eggs on top of the tomato sauce and cover it up with the lid.
Keep the pan or tajine on a very low fire and cook the ingredients for about 15 minutes. Make sure not to burn the sauce of eggs.

6. While cooking, I tend to fold the eggs in with the sauce in order to obtain a good mixing of flavors and it will also speed up the cooking of the eggs.

7. When cooked, simply put the whole frying pan or tajine on the table. This is very much a hands-on dish, so make sure to provide your table guests with lots of weapons, in this case fresh bread (any kind will do, but I've found that baguette, ciabatta or coarse white bread do very well in providing you with a scooping tool! And they let you soak and mop up those last bits left in the tajine very well!!

(tip: I also like put some freshly picked cilantro leaves on top of the omelette. It looks nice andadds some freshness to the dish.)

A table!

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