Menemen, a traditional Turkish dish made from eggs, cheese, tomato, green peppers, onions, herbs and spices – is one of the mainstays of the rich Turkish culinary repertoire that pretty much everyone interprets in their own way. Just this week, for example, I’ve been served an incredibly spicy version scattered with hot red chillies as well as a sizzling bowl of tomato-rich sauce with a couple of whole eggs broken into it and baked, a dish that is much more akin to the classic shakshuka. My all time favourite version is the one that I was served at Sariyer Lisesi Mezunlar Dernesi on the banks of the glittering Bosphorus in the Büyükdere quarter of Sarıyer district in Istanbul. My husband makes this version every Sunday for breakfast and serves it with slices of sourdough bread brushed with olive oil and lightly grilled in a warm frying pan.
2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
A generous knob of butter
4 spring onions, finely sliced
1 green pepper, de-seeded and finely chopped
1 clove of garlic, finely chopped
4 large tomatoes, chopped
5 eggs, room temperature
100g feta, crumbled
Half a teaspoon of Aleppo pepper (you can also use crushed chillies)
15g flat leaf parsley, finely chopped
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to your taste
How he makes it
Place a large frying pan over a medium heat and add the olive oil and butter.
When the butter has melted into the oil, add the spring onions and pepper, a pinch of salt and the Aleppo pepper. Gently cook, stirring continuously, for around five minutes until the vegetables have softened and sweetened.
Add the garlic and allow to fry briefly before adding the chopped tomatoes.
Cook, stirring occasionally, until the tomatoes have lost some but not all of their water and everything is coming together. This will take between five to 10 minutes. There’s no science to this, however we prefer to cook it for a longer time to reduce down the natural tomato juice.
Whilst the tomato mixture is cooking, lightly beat the eggs together in a bowl. Then gently stir them into the sauce. Cook for a couple of minutes, until the egg whites are just opaque.
Take off the heat. To serve, quickly mix in the feta cheese and parsley (or you can sprinkle the feta cheese on top, place under a hot grill for a couple of minutes and then garnish with parsley).