menemen recipe is probably the best example I have of an adulterated Turkish recipe. My inlaws just can't get past the changes I make.
First, instead of hot green pepper, I use a sweet, red variety. Actually, it's the same kind of pepper that's dried into paprika and I've found plants in the garden centers with the "pimiento" label. A red bell pepper works almost as well. You'd think this substitution isn't a big deal, but apparently, it is.
My second act of recipe heresy: Although the dish has eggs, it is, in fact, a rustic peasant lunch or dinner. (OK, so I'll eat it cold the next day. IF there's any left! Also, I've read that it is a breakfast dish in some parts...just not at my inlaw's. Part of this misunderstanding might stem from the definition of "Kahvaltı", which is next week's post.) Anyway, my key alteration to this classic dish is serving it over spaghetti. Tomatoes, peppers, onions, herbs...only the eggs make menemen different from a good sauce in my eyes. However, you're supposed to serve it with crusty bread (which is tasty too). Some people add feta cheese or Sucuk (a spicy Turkish sausage), but the straight version is as follows:
4 T Olive Oil
1 large Onion, diced
4 small, red bell peppers, diced
1 long, green chile, diced (Omit if you like.)
1 clove of garlic - chopped. (Optional)
4 large, FRESH tomatoes, peeled and diced - This is the only thing that's irreplaceable. Make it with canned tomatoes at your own risk!
Salt and pepper, to taste
2 T Parsley, chopped.
Sauté the onion in the olive oil until translucent, then add garlic, peppers, chile and sauté them until soft. Add tomatoes, salt and pepper. Simmer to reduce liquid until the mixture has a sauce-like consistency. Add parsley, eggs and cover until eggs are firm, but not dry. My inlaws swirl the eggs into the sauce. (I like mine "kayısı gibi" - like an apricot...a little undercooked in the center. The travesty!)
If you like cheese, add some crumbled feta at the end. If you have sucuk, fry it first and use the pan drippings to fry the onions, etc. If you eat pork, pancetta might be nice instead.
Any other creative suggestions from my foodie followers? Alesa? Rayna?
Interesting Aside: Menemen is a town near Izmir.