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Sunday, November 21, 2010

Lebanese Eggs with Sumac

From Washington, DC to Ethiopia to Lebanon in 10 minutes. Ready?

On Friday afternoon, I was watching Anthony Bourdain's No Reservations with Amir. Bourdain is probably not the most appropriate viewing for a 2-year-old, but since this isn't a parenting blog, we won't go there. Anyhow, he was visiting and eating his way around Washington, DC. He and his companion are at one point dining in an Ethiopian restaurant, eating raw grass-fed beef with injera, the spongy bread served with Ethiopian meals. The injera (but definitely not the raw meat) make me suddenly hungry for doro wat, a really fantastic stew. So I hunt down my The Frugal Gourmet On Our Immigrant Ancestors cookbook.

You may remember Jeff Smith, or the Frugal Gourmet, as the funny-voiced PBS cook who fell from grace in the early '90's and died a few years later. Whether the allegations brought against him were true or not, I loved watching him cook and have quite a few of his recipes I go back to time and again. Unfortunately, his recipe for doro wat was too complex for my taste, so I began flipping through the book, landing on a recipe for eggs fried in oil with sumac.

See the world tour?

Anyway, I love sumac and have sumac but hardly ever use sumac. No, it's not made from poison sumac, the stuff you find in your backyard that makes you itch like poison ivy. They are related, but the spice comes from the berry of a different plant. It's a beautiful dark red color and the taste is hard to describe. Smith calls it "tart and tangy," good adjectives. But there aren't too many recipes that call for it. So with extra eggs around for holiday baking, I thought this easy recipe was just the ticket for a lazy Sunday dinner.

Lebanese Eggs with Sumac

4 tbsp olive oil
4-6 eggs, depending on how many you're serving
1 tbsp sumac
salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

1. Heat a 12-inch nonstick skillet and add the oil. Break the eggs into the oil, being careful not to break the yolks. Sprinkle the sumac and salt and pepper on top. Cover and slowly cook until done to taste. Serve with fresh pita bread.

The Verdict: Nothing to write home about, but definitely easy and something new to do with my jar of sumac.

There's not much else to say about this recipe. I made five eggs; two for each adult and one for the kiddo. I wanted my yolk runny, my husband's slightly runny, and my son's hard. Kind of impossible when five eggs have cooked together in a pan. Ironically, my son's egg was the runniest of all.

Pita bread is not only delicious, but the authentic choice. If you have no pita bread on hand, you can obviously serve with whatever bread, toasted or not, that your family enjoys.

I forgot to take pictures again last night but I think that's OK; my guess is you've all seen a fried egg before! Oh and last night was meatless Sunday as we'll be eating meat for the rest of the week. We were lucky enough to have lunch with my husband's friends yesterday and they are both vegetarians from Southern India. The wife made homemade dosas which were amazing. We'll have to see if that recipe will eventually make it to the roster...

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