Friday, 13 July 2012

Eggahs with everything

One day when faced with the annual glut of courgettes I turned to Claudia Roden's  A Book of Middle Eastern Food which has two courgette omelette recipes. The North African eggah is not at all like a dainty French omelette in which the egg is hardly more than shown to the pan - the egg is cooked for at least 20 minutes and the result is more like a cake. The egg is just a support for the vegetables, or meat, or chicken and noodles, or whatever you have used for the filling. It is usually cooked on the hob in a covered frying pan but may also be baked in the oven. It can be served hot cut into wedges as a light supper dish, or the more substantial ones as a full main course, or cold (ideal picnic food), or cubed on cocktail sticks as a starter.

Here's one I prepared earlier - aubergine eggah in the Jamie pan. Note the heat spreader underneath
The simplest eggah consists of a lightly cooked fresh vegetable (broad beans, spinach, courgette, aubergine, leek, broccoli) - about 12 ounces / 350 grammes to 6 eggs, seasoning and butter, with perhaps a sprinkling of chopped fresh herbs as a garnish. Depending on the capacity of your pan and of your diners, you can up the veg and the eggs - it will just take a little longer to cook. We have a plentiful supply of fresh free-range eggs locally (e.g. from the Limouzin Frères market stall).

Prepare and lightly cook the vegetable. This time I had some freshly picked broad beans from the potager which I podded and blanched in boiling water for 15 minutes and, no, I didn't peel them! Good grief, life's too short. For an aubergine eggah, slice, cube, salt, drain, wipe and fry with a little chopped onion and garlic until soft. Courgette eggah - slice and boil, or fry as with aubergine. Et cetera - you get the picture. Or you could defrost a package from the freezer and cook it.

Melt the butter in the pan, mix the eggs into the vegetable and season. Pour the mixture in the pan, stir around to make sure the veg is evenly distributed, cover (with a plate if your pan doesn't come with a lid) and cook for about 15 minutes on very low heat, until the eggah is firm on the top. Make sure it is free to move and loosen it with a nylon spatula if necessary. Slide the eggah onto a plate (or the lid of your Jamie Oliver skillet), invert the pan over it (it will have drunk the butter) and turn the whole lot over, thereby enabling you to brown the underside for a further 5 minutes. Serve with a fresh green salad. It's very comforting on a cold miserable day like today!

The last slice of Broad Bean Eggah... with a roquette and terrine baguette accompaniment.
Almost forgot to take the photograph!!


Jean said...

It looks delish. I have never heard of eggah before but will remember this when I have a glut of veg and am trying to do something a bit different.

Pollygarter said...

Jean - it's also excellent cold.