I wonder if there can be too much of a good thing when it comes to eggs and greens and their endless combinations. They have not as of yet served me wrong and I never seem to tire of them. They figure high in great success stories, such as when I wooed my husband with a breakfast salad of arugula topped with an egg fried in a pile of leeks. So it should not have been surprising that after devouring Samin Nosrat's drop dead cool cookbook Salt Fat Acid Heat , the recipe that jumped up and bit me was for a Persian dish called Kuku Sabzi. I have made this recipe at least five times in the past few months. We have had it for breakfast, taken it on a picnic, slathered it in hot sauce for dinner and both been caught sneaking cold bites from the refrigerator door with a fork. Just the murmuring of kuku...gets my husband excited. Yup, it's that easy.
This dish is like a backwards frittata - the ratio of eggs to filling is totally flipped, with just enough egg to bind it together. In this case the mixture for one Kuku contains 2 bunches of chard, 2 bunches cilantro, 1 bunch dill, 1 leek and 8-9 eggs. Seriously a nutrition powerhouse. It is a lot of chopping and prep, but after the first time making it I found it to be relatively quick to put together. The best part is nothing needs to be cut beautifully, it simply needs to be cut. Though I can never resist making my chard stems look like rainbows.
Cook the chard leaves in olive oil until just soft, squeeze them of excess water, then chop them up. The leek and chard stems get cooked down in 2 TB of butter until they are silky, adding a little water if the pan gets too dry. Chop up the cilantro and dill - in this case you can cut the herbs with their tender stems right on them.
Mix everything together along with your eggs. I just stick my hands right in the bowl and squeeze everything between my fingers. It feels very satisfying. Use 8 or 9 depending on how moist your mixture is. You just want everything to be barely bound together. Also season with salt and pepper! Taste now, since you will not be able to add more later.
Wipe the pan very clean, then add 3 TB of butter and 2 TB of olive oil. Put the mixture in over medium heat. Using a rubber spatula, pull the edges in towards the middle. You will see egg liquid seep into the vacated spot. Then flatten into shape again. I go all around the pan and do this a few times in the first few minutes of cooking. This helps get some of the moisture out of the center so it can cook more evenly. Leave over medium low heat until a nice golden crust forms, about ten minutes.
Flip it! I use the back of a large sheet tray, flip the kuku, then wipe out the pan, add more oil and slide it back in. This is the only stressful part of the whole ordeal. Samin points out that instead of flipping you can finish it in a 350 degree oven, though I have not tried that. I love the results that come from the flip, because even if you have a rough time with the first flip (see above, doesn't look so amazing), once flipped the bottom ends up looking picture perfect (see below!).
The brightness and smells of Kuku Sabzi are irresistible. Honestly, I have not tried any variations on it yet which is probably a first for me, the endless tinkerer, though I imagine you could add any herbs or greens that you like. Also spices such as sumac, cumin, or chile powder could all be good here. Thank you Samin for putting this amazing dish in my arsenal. Now I hope to have put it in yours..