Thursday Night Nicoise Salad

Thursday Night Nicoise Salad
Allow all of your salad stars to shine on their own. Dress each component of your salad individually and pile onto a platter. Simple food is just so darn pretty. Make something like this whatever you have on hand!

Monday, January 14, 2013

Kookoo 4 Kookoo


I've always been a frittata inamorata. Hey, that sounds like a great name for my new restaurant. Don't steal that while I shelf the idea. Anykoo, (I did that on purpose) it's no wonder that I have developed a weird fascination (obsession, if you wish) with KOOKOOS. You can say kuku. I say kookoo. I friggin' cannot stop saying KOOKOO. I feel like Dustin Hoffman in Rain Man. I got Jeopardy at Five O'Clock. Jeopardy at Five O'Clock. Ten minutes to Wapner. Ten minutes to Wapner. Kookoo. Kookoo. The same thing happened when Aaron told me that, in Hawaii, the word for appetizer is Pu Pu. Then, I couldn't stop saying Pu Pu. And... I had to have a Pu Pu Party and make a Hawaiian Pu Pu playlist to listen to while I was making grilled pineapple burgers and "Monkey Lunches". Um, did I totally get off the track?

A Persian favorite, kookoos are generally egg and vegetable dishes that are either made on the stovetop, not unlike a frittata, or even more simply baked in the oven. Eggs, combined with herbs or eggplant or green beans or zucchini would all be delicious. I want to make them all. A potato kookoo would be similar to a potato pancake or latke. If you combine potato, egg and onion (in any form or method) and then fry them in olive oil, how can you possibly go wrong, I ask?

The main difference between kookoos and frittatas, I find, is that the kookoos seem to be more dense and contain a much higher ratio of vegetables (or herbs) to eggs. For example, when I make a frittata in, let's say a 10 inch frying pan, I would most likely use 10 or 12 eggs. One kookoo (as shown in the photo) only requires 5 eggs! Now, the 5 eggs were joined with 6 cups of finely chopped herbs and leeks which formed a much thicker mixture. Another difference is that the kookoos are typically seasoned with a bit of turmeric along with salt and pepper. Turmeric is an earthy tasting, deep golden colored spice, from the ginger family, and is used as a basis of many Iranian dishes, along with onions. It's used in curries and very common in South Asian and Middle Eastern cuisine. It's a tad mustardy and is also used to give a lovely yellow color to all sorts of foods. I'm all over it right now. Note of caution: please do not irritate your friends by pronouncing it "TU-meric"; don't forget to pronounce the "R" . . . "TuRmeric", ok? My friend, Lynn, and I, will be so much happier.

This recipe has been adapted from a fabulous blog which is my new favorite go-to for Persian specialities, "Turmeric and Saffron". Many beautifully presented dishes and authentic recipes . . .

Kookoo Sabzi
(Herb Kuku)

2 cups flat leaf parsley, finely chopped
2 cups fresh cilantro, finely chopped
1 cup fresh dill, finely chopped
1 cup scallions, leeks or chives, finely chopped
5 extra large eggs
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper (I used finely ground)
2 tablespoons finely chopped walnuts (optional)
1 to 2 tablespoons flour
1 large tomato, cut into thin slices (optional)
4-5 tablespoons of olive oil

When I made this last night (for the first time), I used 2 bunches of flat leaf parsley, 2 bunches of fresh cilantro, one teentsy package of fresh dill and three large leeks (just the white parts). Rinse the herbs very well in cold water. If they have a lot of dirt, soak them in cold water, rinse and repeat. Spin them dry in your salad spinner, cut off the stems and toss the leafy parts into your food processor. I chopped all of the herbs first, emptied the processor and then chopped the leeks in the processor. All in all, I knew I needed about 6 cups of "green". I'm sure chives would have also been divine. The original recipe calls for barberries (zereshk) as an option but I didn't want to sub cranberries for barberries, so I did not. I did, however, opt for the addition of walnuts which I would definitely recommend because they added a nice bit of texture and flavor. One more thing, this recipe fits perfectly into a Corningware 10-inch quiche dish. I've had the French White (and the black) for a hundred years. Just the right vessel.


The Process

Beat the eggs with a whisk in a large bowl. Add all of the rest of the ingredients, except for the tomatoes and olive oil. Gently mix well. Add one tablespoon of oil. Mix. Pour the rest of the oil into an ovenproof baking dish. Pour in the egg/herb mixture and smooth evenly. Lightly cover with foil and bake in a preheated 350 degree oven on the middle rack. After 20 minutes, remove the foil, top with the tomato slices (if using) and sprinkle with kosher salt & freshly ground black pepper. If you're not using tomatoes, simply remove the foil. Bake for an additional 20-25 minutes until set and barely brown around the edges. Let rest for 5 or 10 minutes. Cut into wedges and serve warm or cold with yogurt and warm bread.

KPK Notes: I decided to top the kookoo with tomatoes as Azita does in her recipe for Kookoo Bademjan (eggplant kuku). I loved the flavor and color of the tomatoes on top. I served the Kookoo Sabzi with a simple salad of artisan greens, some roasted eggplant and a homemade yogurt sauce that was a combination of plain, Greek style nonfat yogurt, some fresh herbs (the same ones used in the kookoo), some finely chopped sweet onion, kosher salt, pepper, a dash of freshly ground cumin and a shot of white balsamic vinegar. It was a delicious vegetarian meal. I liked it well enough to have a cold wedge of the kookoo for breakfast with a bit of the yogurt sauce. Really healthy, my friends!

KookooPassionKitchen

Love, Katie



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MORE 4 U

From here, you can continue scrolling down to check out some of my favorite dishes and KPK highlights.

For more posts (articles), recipes, stories and pictures, you can scroll up (in the right column under "What You Missed") and click on 2008, 2009 2010, 2011, 2012 or 2013. As of June, 2013, there are are total of 139 posts in KPK. You can spend more time here when you know where to look, right?! Another way to enjoy my kitchen is to click on any items of interest in the section entitled "Passion Posts", also up above in the right column.

Love, Katie ~ I am so glad you're here! Stay awhile!

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