Recently I saw a video on facebook showing, amongst other things, breakfast in Greece. It was spot-on in that really healthful foods were shown and that is what I, for one, have experienced wherever we are in Greece whether in the islands or on the mainland. Bacon, sausage, waffles, pancakes, even fried potatoes are meant for tourists. Eggs in all forms are cooked in olive oil, as is this dish, and served next to bowls of local yoghurt and honey, a selection of Greek olives, cheese and spinach hand-pies, traditional marmalades and a myriad of freshly baked breads. Cruets of olive oil stand alongside platters of ruby-red, glistening tomato wedges and jumbo rounds of white and golden cheeses made from sheep and goat milk calling out to be sampled. Often small pastries are offered and, in recent years, chocolate has made its presence known in these sweets. Not to be forgotten, strong Greek coffee is always, always served. For those who prefer a milder, tamer beverage, American coffee and hot tea are always at hand. I’ve without fail found breakfast in Greece to be splendid. Clean and minimal, a typical Hellenic breakfast is easily enjoyed outside with gentle breezes softly brushing skin. Fat bumble bees concentrate on oleander, poppies, queen Anne’s lace and peacock anemones to name just a few of Greece’s flowers. This is common during spring, summer and even early fall.
Late fall and winter in Greece can be cold and windy. It is not uncommon to encounter snow. I’ve never experienced winter in Greece but I imagine it to be incredibly peaceful and breathtaking in beauty. I imagine breakfast to be the same but enjoyed inside, quietly… close to a crackling fire. However you spend the early morning hours, this dish will be enjoyed by all.
Greek scrambled eggs are just the ticket for a leisurely breakfast or brunch. Known as strapatsatha, this dish is quick, super easy and can feed a crowd. In Greece it is served with bread on the side but I like to top slices of crusty, handmade bread with the scrambled eggs. I especially lean towards savory olive bread if I even allow myself to have it. True strapatsatha is prepared with Greek olive oil, never butter, which I know sounds a little off but, trust me, it works. The ingredients all meld and marry into each other and the olive oil disappears. For complete authenticity, whole tomatoes are grated and sautéed in the olive oil. However, most Florida tomatoes are incredibly watery and have little flavor so I stick to grape tomatoes. Plus I can be a bit lazy in the morning. If you do have fleshy, good tomatoes available to you, grate them whole against the large holes of a box grater and continue following the recipe. One last observation. I can’t stress enough the importance of real feta cheese. Sheep’s milk feta cheese. If the feta you purchase doesn’t state sheep or goat milk in the ingredients it’s not feta…it’s like Velveeta, cheese food. So pick up true feta and in block form. Crumbled feta cheese has stabilizers and chemicals which keep the stuff from melting not to mention how bad it is for you or how awful it tastes. Stick with high quality ingredients for the Mediterranean lifestyle and you’ll be good to go.
Mediterranean Scrambled Eggs, Strapatsatha
- 1/3 cup Greek olive oil
- 3 pints grape tomatoes
- 1 small onion
- 6 large organic eggs
- 8 ounces sheep’s milk feta cheese, crumbled by your hand
- freshly cracked black pepper
- Over medium high heat add olive oil to a large, heavy bottomed frying pan. I use my 12-inch cast iron skillet.
- Stir the tomatoes until they are all coated with oil. Stir occasionally.
- While the tomatoes cook, finely chop the onion and set aside.
- Crack the eggs into a bowl and scramble. Set aside.
- When the tomatoes begin to wrinkle and fall apart, add the onion and continue stirring gently until the onion softens and becomes somewhat clear.
- Add the eggs and feta cheese and gently stir the eggs from the bottom of the pan until they are cooked to your liking. I like mine creamy but others like their eggs dry and well done so gauge the cooking time accordingly.
- Season with freshly cracked black pepper and serve immediately.