Bacon and eggs is a fine breakfast, but Father’s Day on June 18 begs for an upgrade. We drew our inspiration from around the world, yet kept recipes straightforward enough that even kids could handle them. A Turkish breakfast often centers around menemen, a loose scramble spiked with Aleppo pepper and tomatoes; we add in creamy feta cheese and briny capers. In France, eggs are baked into a hearty tian, with potatoes, spinach, and nutty Parmesan, creating a dish similar to a frittata. And Palestinian cooks fry eggs, then dust them with the herbaceous spice blend za’atar and tangy sumac; we bulk it up to a complete meal with toasted pearl couscous.
Fried Eggs With Toasted Pearl Couscous and Sumac
Makes 4 servings
For this substantial vegetarian breakfast, inspired by a recipe in Reem Kassis’ book The Palestinian Table, we brown pearl couscous (also called Israeli couscous) to give it a toasted-wheat flavor, then cooked it risotto-style for a rich, creamy consistency. The couscous is an ideal base for runny-yolked fried eggs sprinkled with mix of za’atar and sumac. If you like, finish with harissa or hot sauce for a welcome hit of heat and spice to perk up the flavors.
Regular couscous should not be substituted for pearl couscous. Regular couscous is much finer, requires different hydration, and doesn’t have the right chewiness. Also, take care not to over-toast the couscous. Aim for a light golden brown; toasting beyond that produces a flavor that overwhelms the other ingredients.
½ teaspoon ground sumac
½ teaspoon za’atar
5 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided
1 cup pearl couscous
1 medium shallot, minced
4 medium garlic cloves, 2 minced and 2 smashed and peeled
4 teaspoons lemon juice
2 tablespoons salted butter
2 scallions, thinly sliced on bias
4 large eggs
In a small bowl, combine the sumac and za’atar; set aside. In a medium saucepan set over medium heat, warm 1 tablespoon of the oil until shimmering. Add the couscous and cook, stirring constantly, until lightly browned, 3 to 4 minutes. Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate and set aside.
To the same pan, add 1 tablespoon of the remaining oil, the shallot, and minced garlic. Set over medium heat and cook, stirring constantly, until the shallot has softened, about 1 minute. Return the couscous to the pan, then stir in ½ teaspoon salt. Pour in ½ cup of hot water and cook, stirring, until most of the water is absorbed, about 2 minutes. Repeat this 4 more times for a total of 2½ cups water, cooking until the couscous is tender, 10 to 15 minutes. Off heat, stir in the lemon juice, butter, and scallions. Taste and season with salt, then cover and set aside.
In a 12-inch nonstick skillet set over medium heat, warm the remaining 3 tablespoons oil and the smashed garlic. Cook, stirring and flipping the garlic, until golden, 1 to 2 minutes. Remove and discard the garlic, then reduce the heat to medium-low. Crack an egg into each quadrant of the pan and use a silicone spatula to gently push the edges of the egg whites toward the yolks to keep the eggs separate. Cover and cook until the whites are set but the yolks are runny, about 1½ minutes. Remove the pan from the heat.
Serve the couscous in individual bowls, topped with a fried egg and a generous pinch of the sumac mixture.
Turkish Scrambled Eggs With Spicy Tomatoes and Capers (Menemen)
Makes 4 servings
Poblano chilies are Mexican in heritage, but their earthy flavor and mild heat make them ideal for this version of Turkish-style scrambled eggs. Using Aleppo pepper nudges the dish even closer to traditional Turkish flavors, but if you don’t happen to have any, regular red pepper flakes work, too.
No need to wait until the eggs are firm and fully set before removing the pan from the heat; the eggs will continue to cook in the time it takes to portion and serve. Serve on warmed plates to prevent the eggs from cooling down too quickly.
4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided, plus more to serve
2 poblano chilies, stemmed, seeded, and finely chopped
1 bunch scallions, thinly sliced
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon Aleppo pepper or ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes (see headnote)
Kosher salt and ground white pepper
1 plum tomato, cored and finely chopped
2 tablespoons drained capers
8 large eggs
1/3 cup crumbled feta cheese
3 tablespoons chopped fresh dill
In a 12-inch nonstick skillet set over medium heat, warm 2 tablespoons of the oil until shimmering. Add the poblanos, scallions, garlic, Aleppo pepper, ¼ teaspoon salt, and ½ teaspoon white pepper. Cover and cook, stirring, until the chilies are softened but not browned, 6 to 8 minutes. Transfer to a medium bowl and stir in the tomato and capers; set aside. Wipe out the skillet.
In a medium bowl, whisk the eggs and ¼ teaspoon salt. Return the skillet to medium heat and warm the remaining 2 tablespoons oil until shimmering. Pour the eggs into the center of the pan. Using a silicone spatula, continuously stir the eggs, pushing them toward the middle as they set at the edges and folding the cooked egg over on itself. Cook until just set, about 1½ minutes. The curds should be shiny, wet, and soft. Taste and season with salt and pepper, then divide the eggs among warmed serving plates. Top each serving with a portion of the poblano mixture. Sprinkle with feta and dill, then drizzle with oil.
Baked Eggs With Potatoes, Spinach, and Parmesan
Makes 4 to 6 servings
This frittata-like dish is based on a recipe from At Elizabeth David’s Table: Classic Recipes and Timeless Kitchen Wisdom, by Elizabeth David. She calls the preparation a “tian,” the French Provençal term that refers to a shallow, round earthenware vessel, as well as the dishes baked in it. In our version, we cook the potatoes and wilt the spinach in a skillet on the stove top but combine the ingredients in a deep-dish pie plate and bake in the oven. Serve the eggs warm or even at room temperature, with a simple leafy salad to round out the meal. If not serving immediately, hold off on adding the basil garnish — the heat of the eggs will cause it to darken.
The potatoes and spinach should not be completely cooled before adding the eggs; their heat helps jump-start the cooking process for slightly faster baking. Also, take care not to underbake the eggs, or the texture will be soft and a little runny. To check for doneness, gently shake the pie plate. The center of the eggs should be firmly set, not at all jiggly.
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided, plus more to serve
8 large eggs
¼ cup heavy cream
½ teaspoon grated nutmeg
3 ounces finely grated Parmesan cheese (1½ cups), divided use
1 cup lightly packed fresh basil, chopped, divided use
Kosher salt and ground black pepper
10 to 12 ounces Yukon Gold potatoes, unpeeled, cut into ½-inch cubes
3 medium garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1 5-ounce container baby spinach
½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
¼ cup pine nuts
Heat the oven to 375 degrees with a rack in the middle position. Brush a 9-inch, deep-dish pie plate with 1 tablespoon of the oil. In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, cream, nutmeg, two-thirds of the Parmesan, two-thirds of the basil, and ¼ teaspoon each salt and black pepper; set aside.
In 12-inch skillet, combine the potatoes, 2 cups water, and ½ teaspoon salt. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, then reduce to medium, cover, and simmer until a skewer inserted into the potatoes meets no resistance, 10 to 12 minutes. Drain in a colander, then transfer to the prepared pie plate.
Wipe out the skillet and set it over medium heat. Add the remaining 2 tablespoons oil and the garlic, then cook, stirring occasionally, until the garlic begins to brown, about 1 minute. Add the spinach and pepper flakes. Cook, tossing and stirring with tongs, until the spinach is wilted and most of the liquid it has released evaporates, 2 to 3 minutes.
Scatter the spinach mixture over the potatoes in the pie plate, then slowly pour in the egg mixture. Sprinkle with the remaining Parmesan and the pine nuts. Bake until the sides have risen and the center of the eggs does not jiggle when the pie plate is gently shaken, 20 to 25 minutes. Drizzle with additional oil and sprinkle with the remaining basil.
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