Each Thursday, Emily Vikre (a.k.a. fiveandspice) will be sharing a new way to love breakfast -- because breakfast isn't just the most important meal of the day. It's also the most awesome.
Today: A food truck favorite heads into the kitchen for a morning makeover.
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I was living in Boston when the food truck phenomenon really started to take off. With the help of a city-wide competition between trucks vying for parking spots at Government Center, the food truck scene went from "guys selling fried dough and sausages in front of subway entrances" to "chefs and grad students and farmers selling everything from schmancy ice cream sandwiches, Vietnamese noodle salads, or gussied-up grilled cheeses, to popovers and rosemary sea salt French fries." And it all seemed to happen overnight.
One of the earlier food trucks to appear specialized in overstuffed, seasonal vegetable-oriented pita sandwiches. It swiftly became a beloved lunch destination. They had (and, I believe, still have) one sandwich called the egg and eggplant sandwich that I always wanted to try, but for reasons too complex and dull to talk about here, I never wound up getting one. This sad dietary omission has been haunting me lately, so I decided to google “egg and eggplant sandwich” to see if the internet could help me come up with my own.
That’s how I discovered that the egg and eggplant sandwich is actually a classic Iraqi-Israeli dish known as sabich (or sabih). And the reality of the sandwich is even more delightful than what I had expected. It is layer upon layer of flavor tucked into (or atop) a pita -- fried eggplant and sliced hard-boiled egg, hummus, chopped cucumber and tomato salad, mango pickle, herbs, sauces -- basically all the good things in the world in a single, messy pile. I found a version in the cookbook Jerusalem that is mind-blowingly good, but also on the complicated side. So I tweaked it, drawing on a few other versions I found, and simplified it -- it’s especially simple if you do some of the steps ahead of time, like the night before -- to turn it into breakfast.
1 medium eggplant, sliced into 1/2 inch-thick rounds Olive oil 1 large tomato or a large handful of cherry tomatoes, diced (quartered if using cherry tomatoes) 1 medium cucumber, peeled, seeded, and diced 1 jalapeño, seeded and diced 1 small garlic clove, crushed to a paste 3 tablespoons finely chopped flat leaf parsley 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice 2 tablespoons plain yogurt 1 tablespoon olive oil 4 pita breads Hummus 4 small dill pickles, diced 4 large eggs, hard cooked, peeled and sliced into rounds Salt and pepper
A New Way to Dinner, co-authored by Food52's founders Amanda Hesser and Merrill Stubbs, is an indispensable playbook for stress-free meal-planning (hint: cook foundational dishes on the weekend and mix and match ‘em through the week).
I like to say I'm a lazy iron chef (I just cook with what I have around), renegade nutritionist, food policy wonk, and inveterate butter and cream enthusiast! My husband and I own a craft distillery in Northern Minnesota called Vikre Distillery (www.vikredistillery.com), where I claimed the title, "arbiter of taste." I also have a doctorate in food policy, for which I studied the changes in diet and health of new immigrants after they come to the United States. I myself am a Norwegian-American dual citizen. So I have a lot of Scandinavian pride, which especially shines through in my cooking on special holidays. Beyond loving all facets of food, I'm a Renaissance woman (translation: bad at focusing), dabbling in a variety of artistic and scientific endeavors.