flavors of Caprese salad - fresh tomatoes, rich
mozzarella and pungent basil - transform creamy
started our family’s Sunday traditions long before brunch
became a popular way to while away the day. She cites a thin
hardcover cookbook, "Gourmet International Pancakes
Waffles" (1970) as the source. At 85, she still fires
up the waffle iron and the crepe pan on a regular basis. In
between, veggie-stuffed omelets, pepper-laced frittatas and
steamy hot cereals feature in the
summer, our Sunday breakfasts at home draw heavily on the
herbs overflowing in the garden. Especially the terrific
crop of fresh basil varieties — Genovese, common, dark
opal and sweet Thai — planted so I have a supply for
plenty of Caprese salads. Eager to experience this heavenly
combination of tomatoes, basil and fresh mozzarella all day
long, I combine those elements with velvety scrambled eggs.
cream to eggs before scrambling renders them rich and
guarantees moistness. I use half-and-half or milk if that’s
all that I have in the house. Sour cream (or creme fraiche)
might just be my favorite addition because its tang cuts the
richness a tad.
perfectly scrambled eggs, have all the ingredients pulled
together by the stove before you start cooking. Select the
right-size pan — a 10-inch skillet works well for 6 to 8
eggs. Use a smaller pan for fewer eggs. If the skillet is
too large, the eggs will spread too much and they’ll
overcook quickly. Nonstick pans make for easy cleanup and
require less fat.
the empty pan first over medium-high heat until a drop of
water sizzles on contact. Then reduce the heat to medium,
add a light coating of oil or butter, and when that is hot,
add the egg mixture. I like to use a silicon spatula to keep
the eggs moving in the pan, flipping them and gently
stirring to form large soft curds.
the eggs are nearly set, fold in chopped ripe tomato, soft
fresh mozzarella and plenty of basil. Don’t overcook the
eggs; rather, leave them soft-set for a luxurious texture.
Serve with toasted French baguette slices and a side of
fresh berries drizzled with a little balsamic glaze.
recent meal at the casual Manhattan bistro, Jack’s Wife
Freda, shook up my egg repertoire. Its green herby version
of shakshuka — the Middle Eastern dish of eggs poached in
red tomato sauce — is stunning. The perfect dish to make
for a special brunch for my herb gardener (husband).
shakshuka starts with a green sauce. I used a small leek and
some kale leaves (fresh Swiss chard or spinach leaves work
here too) for the base of the sauce (which can be prepared
in advance). While the eggs bake gently in the oven (easier
than poaching), I brew the coffee, set the table and make a
favorite breakfast spots, mom’s or and elsewhere, lure me
in with warm bread and muffin offerings. At home, I jazz up
store-bought naan with a coating of good olive oil and
garlic before crisping in a hot oven. A shower of fresh
herbs and coarse salt makes them a breakfast temptation no
one will resist.
prevent wateriness in the finished eggs, cut tomatoes
crosswise in half and use your fingertip to scoop out the
seeds before dicing the flesh.
cup sour cream
teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
clove garlic, crushed
diced fresh tomatoes
cup thinly sliced or diced fresh mozzarella (half of a 7.5
ounce container, drained)
cup sliced fresh basil leaves
tablespoons finely sliced fresh chives
tablespoons olive oil
Crack eggs into a large pitcher or bowl. Add sour cream, 1/2
teaspoon salt, pepper and garlic. Use a whisk to mix well.
tomatoes, mozzarella, basil, chives and remaining 1/4
teaspoon salt in a small bowl. Transfer to a colander to
drain while you scramble the eggs.
Heat a large (10-inch) nonstick skillet over medium-high
heat until a drop of water sizzles on contact. Reduce heat
to medium. Add oil and heat. Add eggs. Scramble, stirring
gently with a heatproof spatula to create large curds until
almost set, usually 2 to 3 minutes. Add drained tomato
mixture; scramble softly to incorporate mixture into the
eggs. Serve immediately with more herbs for garnish.
information per serving: 302 calories, 24 g fat, 9 g
saturated fat, 389 mg cholesterol, 3 g carbohydrates, 1 g
sugar, 18 g protein, 642 mg sodium, 0 g fiber
GREEN SHAKSHUKA WITH STURDY GREENS AND FRESH HERBS
tablespoons olive oil
small leek, trimmed, quartered lengthwise, well-rinsed,
medium-size jalapeno, halved, seeded, finely chopped
cup chopped fresh garlic chives, green garlic or garlic
scapes (or 3 cloves regular garlic, finely chopped)
loosely packed cups, thinly sliced, trimmed sturdy greens,
such as lacinato kale, spinach or Swiss chard leaves (stems
teaspoon salt (or more to taste)
tablespoons each, finely chopped: flat parsley leaves,
chives, fresh basil leaves
teaspoon minced fresh oregano or 1/4 teaspoon dried
teaspoon minced fresh thyme or 1/8 teaspoon dried
cup shredded sharp cheese, such as cotija, white cheddar or
2 to 3
tablespoons creme fraiche, thinned with a little milk
green onions, trimmed, thinly sliced
green sauce, heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high
heat. Add oil and heat. Reduce heat to medium; add leek and
jalapeno. Cook, stirring, until softened, about 3 minutes.
Stir in garlic chives; cook, 1 minute. Stir in sliced
greens, broth and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Cook uncovered,
stirring often, until greens are tender, about 10 minutes.
Puree mixture with herbs in a blender until smooth. Taste
and adjust salt. (Sauce can be made 1 hour in advance and
held at room temperature. Or refrigerate, covered, up to 2
days; use at room temperature. If necessary, thin the sauce
with broth or water, so it is the consistency of a thickish
the eggs, heat oven to 350 degrees. Have 4 individual (2- to
3-cup capacity) ovenproof baking dishes ready on a baking
Divide green sauce evenly among dishes. Use the back of a
spoon to make two indentations in the sauce in each dish.
Crack an egg into each indentation. Sprinkle with cheese.
Bake in the middle of the oven until the egg whites are set
and the yolks nearly set, 20 to 25 minutes. (The timing will
depend on the temperature of the sauce. Don’t overcook the
yolks; they should be somewhat soft and runny like a poached
Stir the creme fraiche; drizzle it over the eggs. Sprinkle
with green onions. Serve.
variation for 2 or 3 servings: Omit the green sauce. Puree 2
cups (16 ounces) roasted tomatillo salsa with 4 sprigs
parsley and 1/4 cup chopped chives or cilantro in a blender
until smooth. Use as directed in step 4 to make 2 or 3
information per serving: 305 calories, 21 g fat, 8 g
saturated fat, 394 mg cholesterol, 9 g carbohydrates, 3 g
sugar, 19 g protein, 549 mg sodium, 2 g fiber
tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
tablespoons thinly sliced chives or green onion tops
stalk green garlic, trimmed, finely chopped (or 2 cloves
garlic, finely chopped)
plain tandoori naan (or flour tortillas)
oil, chives and garlic in small a bowl. (Refrigerate covered
up to 1 week.)
Heat oven to 400 degrees. Place naan on a large baking
sheet. Brush each with the oil; distribute the chives and
garlic evenly over the breads. Sprinkle with salt.
Bake until edges are golden brown and bottoms are crispy, 5
to 7 minutes. Serve warm.
information per serving: 262 calories, 11 g fat, 2 g
saturated fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 36 g carbohydrates, 2 g
sugar, 7 g protein, 330 mg sodium, 4 g fiber