209 X AllergicFoodLover : Eggs Al Banadoura

This dish, translated literally into eggs with tomatoes, is the epiphany of childhood comfort food in Italy. I still remember to this day my babysitter back when I lived in Italy would always cook this for me. The key was to keep the eggs runny, not raw, but runny. A recipe born in the region of Tuscany and often falls under the names; "Uova al livornese" or "Uova alla garibalidini", eggs of Livorno, the port city nestled in the region and garibaldi eggs was simply because the redness of the tomatoes reminisced the red jackets of Garibaldi's men ( he contributed heavily to the unification of Italy). There is a similar dish, originating from North Africa, called the shakshouka, the main difference is that this one has bell peppers.

Each dish we eat carries pieces from the past, stories, and memories, both personal and international ones. For example, did you know that when tomatoes were first brought to Italy they weren't accepted? During the Renaissance, vegetables, especially those that came from the "New World" were believed to harm the body and thus were called the devil's fruit. It wasn't until the 19th century that the tomato-related recipes emerged that the fruit gained such nationalistic status.

Take mouneh for example, it's not just cute jars filled with yumminess with a little bow tied around them. It signified the method of preservation of food in order to survive the winter. In other countries, one would salt the food to create a preservation coat, and in other countries, like Sweden, well we would make a fridge in the snow and store it there.

Let's go back to the eggs and tomatoes. A dish now cooked as a way to empty your fridge of those little leftovers. It is a dish that has no rule other than tomatoes and eggs. Through in those sad-looking zucchinis or that kale, you convinced yourself to buy, thinking you'd have that healthy salad a week ago. Add your own spice to it, make it yours, call it something and make it your signature dish! if chefs can have dishes named after them, then why can't we?

The bold flavors of the tomato with the creamy eggs were paired with a glass of arak from Abou Akl Arak. A quick history note, this arak was first made in the early 1920s in Mtein. It turned 100 years this year! With its notes of aniseed and licorice, it refreshes the mouth when eating, one of the big reasons why it's served with mezze. It clears your palate and instead of overpowering, it tones down the acidity from the tomatoes and za'atar.

Eggs Al Banadoura

(For 2 people or 4 if everyone has one egg)

3 ripened tomatoes
1 can of chopped tomatoes/tomato purée
2 garlic cloves
1 onion
4 eggs - if possible use organic
A couple of fresh herbs, parsley, thyme, etc.
Za'atar mix - I use the one from Jabaliyeh
Olive oil - I used Darmmess
Not mandatory: labneh balls
If you are using fresh tomatoes, boil them for a couple of minutes in order to remove the skin, once peeled, dice them. Add the squeezed garlic ( can be finely chopped if you do not have the squeezer) add the chopped onion as well and drizzle with olive oil. Once the garlic and onion begin turning golden, add the chopped tomatoes, half a glass of water, some of the fresh herbs, and let it simmer for a good 10 minutes, until the sauce has thickened. Slowly crack the eggs into the sauce, add the labneh balls as well and let them poach - this takes about 3 to 5minutes. Serve with a sprinkle of delicious za'atar.
February 28, 2021