Egg dishes are usually the quickest and easiest to prepare, as well as being nutritious. That humble oval object, the egg, contains the highest concentration of protein of any other foodstuff. In one 55 gram hen's egg there ar,e 6 grams of protein, 12 grams of fat (approximately 80 calories) and a host of vitamins and minerals: vitamins A, B, D, k and K, iron phosphate, calcium, and iodine. So eggs are a valuable source of nutrients for growing children as well as adults.

Both the white and yolk of eggs play an invaluable role in cooking. not only in egg dishes per se, but in puddings. cakes, pastries, souffles, sauces and soups.

With a little bit more preparation than required for simple boiled or fried eggs delicious supper dishes can be prepared from eggs. We have chosen three quick, light Turkish egg dishes perfect for an all-in- one summer meal. Note that in all three dishes a sour ingredient - tomatoes oryogurt - offsets the richness of the eggs, which is why these are hot weather favourites in Turkey.

MENEMEN: For this tasty summer dish you need 4 eggs, 2 tablespoons of margarine, two large ripe tomatoes, 2 tapering green peppers (hot or mild), black pepper, salt and parsley. First peel and dice the tomatoes, remote the seeds from the peppers and dice. Melt the fat in a saucepan and fry the peppers gently until soft but not browned. Add the diced tomatoes and stir with a wooden spoon, pressing on the tomatoes until they are cooked to a puree. Break the eggs into the tomato, add salt and black pepper and stir constantly over a medium heat until the juice has evaporated. Now your menemen is ready. Garnish with finely chopped parsley. Chopped onion and garlic can also be added to menemen, in which case they should be sauteed with the peppers.

CILBIR: Another easy and memorable dish, for which you need a tablespoonful of vinegar, 1 teaspoon salt, 6 eggs, 3 cloves of garlic, 1.5 cups yogurt, 2 tablespoons butter, and 1 teaspoon paprika. First crush the garlic with a little salt and beat into the yogurt. Then poach the eggs in a deep saucepan containing an inch or so of water mixed with the vinegar and salt. When the water is boiling hard, reduce the heat and gently break the eggs into the water, spacing them well apart. As soon as the whites have set over the yolks (a few minutes), remove the eggs carefully with a strainer spoon and place on a serving dish . Pour the garlic yogurt over the top. Then melt the butter in a small pan, and stir in the paprika. Pour this over the yogurt. Your cilbir is ready.

TOMATO OMELET: Take three tomatoes, 2 tablespoons of olive oil, I tablespoon butter, 4 eggs 1/2 teaspoon of salt and black pepper. First peel the tomatoes and dice. Heat the olive oil in a small pan, add the tomatoes and simmer for 10 minutes. When the tomatoes have softened well season with salt and pepper. Meanwhile break 4 eggs into a bowl and beat well with a fork. Melt the butter in a medium sized saucepan, and before it gets brown empty the egg mixture into the pan and reduce the heat. Stir your omelet with a wooden spoon to ensure that all the mixture cooks, and shake the pan to prevent it sticking. Then pour the tomato puree over your golden yellow omelet and cook together for a few more minutes. Either fold the omelet in half or roll it up to serve.

Source Selim Arikan

Turkish Arlines Skylife, July 1993 pp.48-50

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