Palestinian Style Eggs- Comfort for Breakfast
By: Blanche Shaheen/Arab America Contributing Writer
Nothing says comfort like a plate of warm scrambled eggs and roasted potatoes for breakfast. While there are thousands of variations for each of these ingredients, Palestinians have their own special niche in this beloved breakfast combination. “Baid O Batata,” which literally means eggs and potatoes in Arabic, is similar to an American style hash, albeit with Mediterranean ingredients. This is the kind of breakfast which will fill your home with the most beautiful scent of za’atar, waking up the family with the anticipation of love on a plate.
Baid o Batata is particularly popular with the men in my family, as this hearty combination is both filling and satisfying. Small crispy cubes of browned potatoes form the foundation for soft scrambled eggs, melted farmer’s or mozzarella cheese, aromatic scallions and zesty za’atar. The ingredients are few and very simple, but the technique is what will take this egg dish to the next level of flavor.
First start with good quality, preferably organic russet potatoes. Dice the potatoes in very small and uniform cubes so they cook evenly while crisping up nicely in the skillet in a shorter period of time. Try to source pasture-raised organic eggs from the farmer’s market, where the yolks are super orange and the flavor far surpasses the blandness of supermarket eggs. The game changer for this recipe is unfiltered Palestinian olive oil, which is strong, robust and fruity, and Palestinian za’atar, which usually contains tangy sumac and sesame seeds.
To source Palestinian olive oil and za’atar, you can check your local middle eastern supermarkets or online. While cheese is not conventionally added, a small amount of fresh farmer’s cheese or mozzarella adds a creamy and gooey texture that brings all of the ingredients together harmoniously. If you enjoy breakfast for dinner, try this dish with a side salad or roasted vegetables, and you might never want to eat traditional dinner again.
To see the video technique, click on the video below:
BAID o BATATA (Potatoes and Eggs)
- 1 medium potato diced diced into small cubes
- 2 scallions, or green onions, chopped
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- ¼ cup cubed cheese, either fresh mozzarella or farmer’s cheese
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
- 3-4 large eggs
- 1 tbsp za’atar for garnish
In a large pan, drizzle olive oil into a skillet over medium low heat. Add the potatoes and cook, stirring until lightly golden. Add 1 tbsp of water or additional oil as you cook to make sure the potatoes don’t dry out, this will assist in cooking them from the inside as well. After the potatoes are browned, add the scallions and cook about 3 minutes more. Then lower the heat, add the eggs, and slowly fold the eggs in with the potatoes. Add the cheese and gently stir until melted. Sprinkle with za’atar and serve, adding any additional salt and pepper to taste.
Blanche Shaheen is the author of the cookbook called “Feast In the Middle East, a Journey of Family and Cuisine” which you can order here: https://secure.mybookorders.com/mbo_index.php?isbn=9781545675113 She is also a journalist, and host of the popular cooking show called Feast in the Middle East. She specializes in Arab cuisine of the Levant and beyond. You can check out her cooking video tutorials at https://www.youtube.com/user/blanchetv Her recipes can also be found at: https://feastinthemiddleeast.wordpress.com/