Is there anything more satisfying than pulling together a meal out of semi shriveled vegetables in your fridge, glorious fresh veggies from the garden, a few pantry items you already had on hand, and making a really fast meal that is absolutely devoured by your family? The only disappointing thing about this meal is that I am about to go (may already be there when this publishes) out of town to Chicago to see U2 (twice!) and so I cannot make it again the next night. It was that tasty.
This meal has 2 sources, although in both cases my version does not closely resemble the originals. The first is a hot sauce that was inspired by a recipe a friend gave to me–and I am waiting on permission to share it. So just assume any hot sauce friendly to Middle Eastern flavors–and know that my kids inhaled the meal without the hot sauce anyway. But that is what you see dabbed onto the dish.
The second source is Claudia Roden’s The New Book Of Middle Eastern Food. Claudia Roden’s cookbooks are interesting. On the one hand they are chock full of fabulous recipes, a terrific source of inspiration. On the other hand, the woman epitomaizes the culinary equivalent of brevity being the soul of wit. Her recipes are very bare boned, which is great for individual interpretation but not so great when you are staring at a recipe, puzzled by something. For example, this recipe calls for 2 slices of feta cheese. No thickness, no weight, no nothing, just 2 slices. Don’t know about you but since I do not even think of feta as being sold or eaten in slices, I had no idea how much that meant. Luckily, as an experienced cook I can just guesstimate to make a finished dish I will enjoy, but I have no idea if what I made bears any resemblance to what someone from the Middle East would enjoy.
My main changes were to increase the size of the dish for 4 people and to add more veggies for a more complete meal. I found the pepper and zucchini–both on their last legs– in my fridge and I found some beautiful ripe Hillybilly (heirloom) tomatoes in my garden, which I have woefully neglected.
2 T cold pressed extra virgin olive oil–I used a good Spanish one
2 fat cloves garlic, minced
1 t ground coriander (I forgot–oops)
1 sweet bell pepper, diced
1 small zucchini, diced
3 slices (I used about 2.5 oz and they broke apart a bit) feta cheese
1 fresh, ripe tomato, chopped
Heat a 10-12 inch nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add the oil and then the garlic and coriander. Let the garlic sizzle gently, reducing heat of necessary, to roast until golden and fragrant. Add the peppers and zucchini and cook for a few minute. Place the feat cheese over the veggie and leave to cook on medium low heat.
When the cheese is melting and falling apart, toss the veggies and cheese 2-3 times. Crack the eggs over the skillet–ideally all yolks would remain unbroken, but one of mine broke. Luckily my husband does not care about egg yolk. Sprinkle the chopped tomato around the edges and turn the broiler on.