Pine Nuts, Sumac, and Parsley Are Unlikely but Delicious Partners for Scrambled Eggs

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Soft scrambled eggs with sumac, pine nuts, and lots of olive oil. [Photographs: J. Kenji Lopez-Alt]

If it seems like I've been writing an awful lot of recipes recently that call for either sumac or za'atar, it's because I have. So far, there's been Grilled Chicken With Za'atar, Sumac and Mint Aioli, and at least a few more in the pipeline. It's not because I suddenly found my way into a brand new aisle at the spice market, but because I recently completely re-organized my spice collection and realized, after a bit of collating, organizing, and label-making, that I have not one, not two, but five different types of sumac in my drawer, and that's after throwing out the two batches that had lost their flavor after a few too many months in storage.

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Most of these are courtesy of a good Lebanese friend of mine (a friend who brings you jars of spices specially selected by their relatives in the Middle East is the best kind of friend)—the same friend who introduced me to the idea of halloumi pancakes. In fact, it was at that exact same breakfast that I was introduced to these scrambled eggs, which he flavored with toasted pine nuts, sumac, parsley, and olive oil.

It's a really delicious, simple combination of flavors and textures, and there's really nothing to it other than paying attention to a few details. First, make sure you toast the pine nuts evenly and well (large Middle Eastern pine nuts are better than the smaller Chinese nuts if you can find them). If you want to go the traditional route, low and slow in a skillet on the stovetop with some olive oil and lots of stirring works, but if you don't mind bringing some modern implements into the mix, the microwave is your friend. I toss the nuts in a bit of olive oil (it helps them brown more evenly), place them in a single layer on a microwave-safe plate, then toast them on high power at one-minute intervals, stirring them in between until they're evenly toasted and golden brown.

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The eggs themselves I like to season with salt, very gently scramble in a bowl, and then cook them gently in my best extra-virgin olive oil, stirring them constantly as they cook so that they form soft, custard-like curds. Once they're cooked, I transfer them to a serving dish (in a clear clash of cultures, here I'm using a Turkish sahan), sprinkle them with the sumac, parsley, and pine nuts, drizzle them with more olive oil, and serve them with some good flatbread for scooping.