Why It Works
- We don't do much to improve on this classic—the key is to cook the eggs very gently, removing them from the heat well before they finish cooking so they can continue to cook on the way to the table.
- The proper Turkish peppers are difficult to find, but shishito, Padrón, or Chinese long green peppers work nicely.
After a week and a half of eating our way through Istanbul, this was the one dish that my sister, my wife, and I were consistently craving. Menemen is a dish of eggs scrambled just until barely set, mixed with tomatoes, chilies, and tons of olive oil. I love to eat it with a side of salty cheese, olives, and some good crusty bread.
- 3 tablespoons (45ml) extra-virgin olive oil
- 1/2 teaspoon hot paprika (see note)
- 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano (optional)
- 1 small onion, finely diced (about 3/4 cup)
- 3/4 cup finely diced shishito, Padrón, or Chinese green long pepper
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1/2 cup chopped peeled ripe fresh tomatoes or drained canned tomatoes
- 4 eggs, lightly beaten
- Minced fresh chives, for garnish (optional; see note)
In a medium nonstick or cast iron skillet, heat olive oil over low heat until barely warm. Add paprika, oregano, onion, and peppers. Season with salt and a very generous amount of black pepper. Cook, stirring frequently, until very soft, about 8 minutes. Add tomatoes and continue to cook, stirring frequently, until deepened in color. Remove half of mixture and reserve.
Return pan to heat and add beaten eggs. Season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring frequently, until eggs are just barely set. Immediately remove from heat and gently fold in reserved vegetable mixture. Sprinkle with chives, if using, and serve immediately.
Medium nonstick or cast iron skillet
If you have access to Aleppo or Urfa chilies, you can use them in place of the paprika for a more authentic flavor. Chives are not traditional in this dish, but I often like to add them because eggs and chives were made for each other; you can opt to include or omit them.