Thursday, February 07, 2013

Why I'm Cuckoo for Kuku Sabzi

In Najmieh Batmanglij's book A Taste of Persia, she explains that kuku is
a baked omelet somewhat similar to an Italian frittata or an Arab eggah; it is thick and rather fluffy, and stuffed with herbs, vegetables, or meat. It may be eaten hot or cold — it keeps well in the refrigerator for two or three days — as an appetizer, side dish, or light main dish with yogurt or salad and bread. Kukus are traditionally made on the stovetop, but my oven version is much simpler. A fresh herb kuku such as this one is a traditional New Year's dish in Iran. The green herbs symbolize rebirth, and the eggs, fertility and happiness for the year to come. 
An apt summation. I love kuku because it's less eggy than a frittata, not as rich as a souffle and way more dense than a quiche could ever be. The recipe is deceptively simple, though in prepping for this dish my mother consulted with a few Persian friends who added extra steps like chopping and pre-sauteing the greens, whisking the eggs in separate bowls, etc.
But really it's the kind of unfussy dish that doesn't require all that much prep -- chop fluffy piles of greens like parsley, cilantro, spinach, scallions or chives. Whisk in about six or seven eggs. Dashes of tumeric, salt and pepper. Brown in a skillet. The end result: deliciously herby, not-too-crusty wedges that will make all other egg-based wedges feel meek in comparison. There's a bit of texture there -- lots of leafy presence and just the hint of creaminess from the eggs. For our Saffron Supper Club Dinner #2 we're kicking off the meal with this and pairing it with a salmon pastrami and yogurt sauce.

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