(photo credit: James F. Quinn/Chicago Tribune/MCT)
‘Green beans and eggs – my favorite dish!’ said Harry, the Armenian cashier at
the supermarket, when he saw that we had a big bag of green beans in our
He said it with such enthusiasm that we asked how he prepares it.
His recipe was simple: “Cook the beans lightly, heat them in olive oil, add
beaten eggs and scramble.”
“You have to try it,” he added.
next time he saw us, Harry asked if we had made the dish and said, “I forgot to
tell you to fry a small onion before you add the green beans, and add a bit of
diced tomato – but just a little; the green beans are the main
“Green beans and eggs is a favorite Caucasus dish for a
light meal,” wrote Kay Shaw Nelson, author of Cuisines of the Caucasus
Mountains. To make her creamy version, she sautees minced onion in butter or
olive oil, stirs in a little flour, salt, pepper and cayenne, and then mixes in
the cooked green beans. She adds eggs beaten with chopped dill and yogurt or
sour cream and cooks the mixture slowly, until the eggs are set, but still a
little moist. The small amount of flour helps prevent the yogurt from
In Georgia people prepare green beans with eggs in the form
of a green-bean pie. To make it, Nelson puts drained, cooked, shredded green
beans in a buttered shallow baking dish. After adding beaten eggs, dill, parsley
and nutmeg, she bakes the mixture with a little more butter until the eggs
Green beans and eggs are liked in Turkey, too. Nur Ilkin and Sheilah
Kaufman, the authors of A Taste of Turkish Cuisine, flavor theirs with a
generous amount of garlic.
(See recipe below.) If we had purchased
cauliflower and Harry had been Czech, he might have suggested that we make
cauliflower and eggs. This dish, wrote Lesley Chamberlain in The Food and
Cooking of Eastern Europe “is a solid example of Czech provincial
We learned to make cauliflower with scrambled eggs from a
friend when we lived in Bat Yam. She recommended it as a way to use cooked
cauliflower stalks when you have used the florets for another dish. It appealed
to us because we could get a big plateful of tasty food using just a couple of
Joza Brizova, author of The Czechoslovak Cookbook, makes
cauliflower with eggs by sauteing an onion in butter, and then adding the cooked
cauliflower and scrambling it with beaten eggs seasoned with powdered caraway
She makes a similar dish from kale (dark leafy greens), and refers
to both the cauliflower and the kale versions as mock brains (which surprised
us, until we remembered that Ashkenazi Jews call certain vegetable spreads “mock
chopped liver”). In Eastern Europe this is a popular way to use cabbage as
Actually, most vegetables go well with eggs. When we want eggs for
a quick supper, Yakir uses whatever cooked vegetables happen to be on hand.
Usually there are plenty because I cook a variety of vegetables every
Often he begins by sauteing a chopped onion in olive oil, and
then dices and sautees a couple of tomatoes.
Next he heats the cooked
vegetables in the mixture. He then adds the beaten eggs with any chopped green
onions, parsley or other herbs he finds in the refrigerator.
We eat our
vegetables and eggs for supper with pita, tortillas or fresh bread.
Levy is the author of the award-winning book, Faye Levy’s International
GREEN BEANS WITH EGGS AND GARLIC
This has become the way we most often prepare
This recipe is from A Taste of Turkish Cuisine. Authors Nur
Ilkin and Sheilah Kaufman write that it is an old family recipe from eastern
Turkey. The eggs are scrambled in butter in a separate pan, and then are added
to the pot of drained cooked beans. The garlicky relish stirred in at the end
provides plenty of punch, as it is heated only briefly.
Makes 6 servings
as a side dish
900 gr. (2 pounds) fresh green beans, ends removed, and cut into
about 1-cm (1⁄2-inch) pieces
110 gr. (4 ounces) butter
4 cloves garlic
to 2 tsp. salt
In a large pot cook the beans, covered, in boiling, salted water
for a minute or two, then reduce heat and simmer for 15 to 20 minutes, or until
beans are tender. Remove from heat and drain well.
In a small skillet,
melt the butter and when hot immediately crack and drop in the eggs, mixing
well. As soon as the eggs begin to set, remove from heat.
Using a mortar
and pestle, crush the garlic, salt and 1 tablespoon of water together. Set
When beans are cool enough to handle, carefully squeeze by the
handful to remove any excess water. Return beans to the pot along with the egg
mixture and turn heat to medium. Stir in the garlic mixture, mixing well. Remove
from heat and serve with bread.
CZECH CAULIFLOWER WITH ONIONS AND EGGS
This dish makes a good supper with rye bread, and a cucumber and tomato
Makes 2 servings
2 Tbsp. vegetable oil or butter
1 medium onion,
About 3 cups cooked small cauliflower florets, including diced cooked
tender stalks (half a 900-gr. or 2-pound cauliflower)
Salt and freshly-ground
2 or 3 eggs
2 Tbsp. milk
1 Tbsp. chopped green onion or parsley
Heat oil or butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add onion and
saute, stirring often, about 7 minutes or until golden. Add cauliflower,
sprinkle with salt and pepper and heat through.
Beat eggs with milk and
add a pinch of salt and pepper. Add egg mixture to pan and cook over low heat,
stirring, until set to your taste. Stir in half of green onion. Serve sprinkled
with remaining green onion.
OUR VEGETABLES WITH EGGS
This is a
vegetable-rich version of my mother-in- law’s shakshuka. She made hers by
scrambling the eggs with vegetables, not poaching them the way many restaurants
We usually have cooked vegetables on hand.
There might be
green beans, cauliflower, broccoli, cabbage, mushrooms, potatoes, leeks,
asparagus, carrots, turnips, mild radishes or greens. Any of these vegetables is
good in this dish, or, better yet, a combination of several. When we don’t have
cooked vegetables ready, we substitute frozen ones.
Serve this dish with
good fresh or warmed bread.
Makes 2 or 3 servings
About 3 Tbsp.
extra-virgin olive oil
1 small onion, chopped
2 small tomatoes, diced 21⁄2 to 3
cups cooked vegetables, diced salt and freshly ground pepper
1⁄2 tsp. ground
3 or 4 eggs Pinch of red pepper flakes (optional)
chopped parsley, cilantro, dill, green onion or a mixture
Heat oil in a large
skillet. Add onion and cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, about 5
minutes or until just beginning to turn golden.
Add tomatoes and cook for
3 to 5 minutes, or until softened. Add diced cooked vegetables, sprinkle with
salt, pepper and cumin and heat thoroughly while stirring.
Beat eggs with
salt, pepper, pepper flakes and herbs. Add to vegetables and stir over medium-low
heat until eggs are set to your taste. Serve hot.