Summer is my favorite time of the year. I love the sunshine that comes with it, the rich colors and flavors in the veggies and fruits, and that feeling of freedom and relaxation that comes when you don’t have school (or your kids don’t have school)!
As I'm getting ready to go to Greece to scout for new suppliers, meet with old ones, and reconnect with my family there, I can’t help but being flooded with summer memories from my childhood. These memories led me to cook two dishes this weekend that felt so familiar and made me go back in time, something like Proust’s madeleine effect.
Here is my first one:
When I was a child, my family would spend the summer in a little village by the sea in the area of Halkidikí in Northern Greece. We would rent a tiny place, meeting the same families year after year. The only food we could buy was what the local farmers were producing, so we were eating a lot of tomatoes, potatoes, zucchini, eggplants, peppers and eggs. One of my most beloved memories is eating a dish made with a simple tomato sauce and scrambled eggs. We call it “strapatsáda” and you have to use fresh plum tomatoes, olive oil and salt to make the simplest tomato sauce. Some people add a little green pepper in it, too, or feta cheese to give it extra flavor. Once the sauce is thick enough, you cook your eggs in it and there you have it, a quick, tasty lunch! It is delicious and it becomes even better if you dip your bread in it!
Last weekend I made mine using Elli and Manos’ Tomato and Feta sauce, which tastes just like my home-made tomato sauce and is so deliciously rich. You can taste and smell the tomatoes, and feta gives it an extra punch. I have used this sauce with pasta again and again and I knew it would work with eggs. I got lazy and baked the eggs whole in the oven but traditionally you scramble them in a pan so I added both ways in my recipe below; and because it is a love-related memory I got carried away and used my heart shaped ramekins!
So here is my recipe for tomato-baked eggs, aka “strapatsáda”:
Pepper to taste
A drizzle of extra virgin olive oil
Warm the sauce in a pan on your stovetop at medium temperature.
Once warm, add the eggs and scramble them while coating them with the sauce until they are cooked through but not very dry.
Heat the oven to 400ºF.
Use 6 ramekins and put a tablespoon of the sauce in each one.
Crack the egg and add some pepper to taste. (I didn’t add salt because the feta in the sauce makes it salty enough for me.)
Add another tablespoon of the sauce to top the egg, and then divide any remaining sauce in the jar evenly amongst each ramekin.
Put your ramekins in the oven, bake for 10 minutes, for well cooked eggs, and enjoy!
You don’t need to boil the sauce, it’s already perfectly cooked.
You can eat your eggs with fresh crusty bread and naked cucumber sticks with salt.
You can drizzle with a little bit of olive oil for a mouthful of Greek summer!
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