Genius Recipes

My New Instant, Bare-Fridge Dinner

In three ingredients (yep, one is eggs!).

November 13, 2019

Every week in Genius Recipes—often with your help!—Food52 Creative Director and lifelong Genius-hunter Kristen Miglore is unearthing recipes that will change the way you cook.


For the nights—the many, many nights—when I forget about dinner, I found a new escape hatch. It’s faster than boiling a pot of pasta water, easier to clean up than grilled cheese, and only requires adding one more staple to your fridge that might not already be there.

Ready? Your new staple is...pita bread. Plain, whole wheat, za’atar-spiced, whatever you fancy.

Oh, it's looking awfully stale? Even better.

Photo by BOBBI LIN. FOOD STYLIST: SAMANTHA SENEVIRATNE. PROP STYLIST: SOPHIE STRANGIO.

For the first time in at least a decade, I’ve started buying pita two bags at a time, just so I never find myself at 11 p.m., hungry and stranded without it.

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Top Comment:
“I grew up eating "crackers & eggs" that my mother made just like Leah's recipe, but with Ritz crackers replacing the pita. It was and is an amazing comfort dish that my adult daughter still craves. She made this last night w/very puffy whole wheat pita that we always have on hand. We thought about cutting down on the butter, but decided to try the recipe in its true form first. We realize now why all the butter is necessary. The pita soaks it up instantly and then crisps accordingly. This was wonderful and will def become a regular in our house.....only not TOO often (so much butter).”
— Lisa L.
Comment

All because of this simple little recipe for toasted pita and scrambled eggs, or fatoot samneh, a Yemenite-Jewish dish from Leah Koenig’s sweeping 400-recipe tome, The Jewish Cookbook. It’s part of a larger category of Middle Eastern dishes called fatoot, which means “crumbled” in Arabic, that repurpose stale flatbread (see also: fattoush, the delicious, leftover pita salad with tomatoes and cucumbers).

Photo by BOBBI LIN. FOOD STYLIST: SAMANTHA SENEVIRATNE. PROP STYLIST: SOPHIE STRANGIO.

Toasted pita with scrambled eggs sounds so unassuming, I might not have noticed it as I was thumbing through more flashy-sounding dishes like huevos haminados (eggs slow-cooked in coffee grounds) and bulemas (rolled pastries stuffed with eggplant and feta). But Koenig wrote to me, “It is shockingly delicious. I ate it for dinner about five days in a row after developing the recipe because I was obsessed.” So of course I had to know for myself.

The first time I tasted it, I froze. Why is this so good? How are these three ingredients, cooked so quickly, so comforting?

I’ve decided one answer is a not-shy amount of clarified butter (or ghee or even regular butter) that helps resurrect the torn pita from stiff and clammy to toasty, bronzed, and crunchy. Then the eggs soft-scramble around them to marry creamy and crisp, two textures we love on their own, and exponentially more together.

Photo by BOBBI LIN. FOOD STYLIST: SAMANTHA SENEVIRATNE. PROP STYLIST: SOPHIE STRANGIO.

One last happy surprise is serving with a drizzle of optional honey, which takes me back to the sopapillas—fried dough with honey and cinnamon—we ordered every time we visited San Diego when I was a kid, one of my first vivid food memories.

You can instead eat your fatoot samneh plain, or with spicy sauces like s’chug, or any way you want really (my other favorite lately has been with a blop of Brooklyn Delhi’s Rhubarb Ginger Achaar). But if you’re haven’t tasted eggs with a little sweetness—like the sautéed dates in Egypt or maple syrup in New England—I strongly recommend you do.

Fair warning: Once you do, your grocery list might start to look like mine does right now: eggs, honey, pita (two packs!).

Got a genius recipe to share—from a classic cookbook, an online source, or anywhere, really? Perhaps something perfect for beginners? Please send it my way (and tell me what's so smart about it) at [email protected].

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See what other Food52 readers are saying.

  • Lanie Anderson
    Lanie Anderson
  • abbyarnold
    abbyarnold
  • Dinna
    Dinna
  • nancyfoodie
    nancyfoodie
  • Lisa London
    Lisa London
Comment
I'm an ex-economist, ex-Californian who moved to New York to work in food media in 2007. Dodgy career choices aside, I can't help but apply the rational tendencies of my former life to things like: recipe tweaking, digging up obscure facts about pizza, and deciding how many pastries to put in my purse for "later."

49 Comments

Lanie A. November 28, 2019
I can't stop eating this.
 
abbyarnold November 26, 2019
Similar to matzoh brie! I had this for breakfast with maple syrup.
 
Dinna November 18, 2019
I made this 3 days in a row and I'm obsessed. I love it how quick and easy it is and love how the pita stays crunchy even after adding and cooking the eggs.
 
Author Comment
Kristen M. November 21, 2019
It's contagious! Thanks so much for sharing, Dinna—happy to hear from another obsessed fan of this recipe like myself.
 
nancyfoodie November 15, 2019
Would it work with pita chips? Like the potato tortilla made with potato chips?
 
Author Comment
Kristen M. November 21, 2019
I haven't tried it, but it couldn't be bad, right? Just use (much) less butter. (Lisa L. below grew up with crackers & eggs, too.)
 
Lisa L. November 15, 2019
First I'll say WOW! I grew up eating "crackers & eggs" that my mother made just like Leah's recipe, but with Ritz crackers replacing the pita. It was and is an amazing comfort dish that my adult daughter still craves. She made this last night w/very puffy whole wheat pita that we always have on hand. We thought about cutting down on the butter, but decided to try the recipe in its true form first. We realize now why all the butter is necessary. The pita soaks it up instantly and then crisps accordingly. This was wonderful and will def become a regular in our house.....only not TOO often (so much butter).
 
Lisa L. November 15, 2019
Almost forgot...drizzled very lightly with lavender honey and, Really, don't miss this part; it pulls it together in a delicious way.
 
Author Comment
Kristen M. November 21, 2019
Lisa, thank you so much for sharing—I'm really happy you and your daughter enjoyed it, and I'm excited to try crackers & eggs soon!
 
Charlotte November 15, 2019
Sounds gross. Perfectly fine, until the honey. Do not understand the desire to make everything sweet.
 
Author Comment
Kristen M. November 21, 2019
It's optional, but I think you might be pleasantly surprised if you tried it.
 
Elizabeth November 15, 2019
Have made this dish for years with corn tortillas. Homemade salsa. Yum!
 
Author Comment
Kristen M. November 21, 2019
Yum, indeed! I should have mentioned the many variations on this idea from around the world—migas, chilaquiles, matzo brei ... I even just saw a shredded roti and eggs dish in Meera Sodha's Fresh India cookbook. This particular recipe knocked me out when I tasted it, thanks to the very crispy, buttery pita and the honey drizzle.
 
linzarella November 14, 2019
Made this last night and it's incredible. It's *very* different from matzo brei, which I make at least twice a week. With matzo brei, you soak the matzo in water and combine it with the eggs to cook. The magic of these pita scrambled eggs is that the pita absorbs an insane amount of fat, so each bite is a little crisp, a little soft, and bursting with oil.

There are similarities to matzo brei, chilaquiles, and even french toast in that it repurposes carbs with eggs. But it's definitely very different!

I stirred in roasted red peppers and drizzled with szichuan chili oil and it was incredible.
 
Author Comment
Kristen M. November 21, 2019
Hi linzarella, thank you—I'm so glad you dug it and reported back!
 
Parvin November 14, 2019
Matzo Brei with pita.
 
Author Comment
Kristen M. November 21, 2019
Hey Parvin, check out my response to Elizabeth above (and the other cooks who've made this recipe and described it)—both are wonderful dishes, but I think the texture comes out differently here.
 
Susan C. November 13, 2019
My God get rid of the background music 🎵 it’s obnoxious. This is a glorified Matzo Brei. Must of gone all over the world 🌍 with different variations.
 
jpriddy November 13, 2019
I was thinking that too! Exactly. My husband's poverty-stricken childhood version is white bread with canned applesauce, which is not remotely . . . well, never mind.
 
Candacerain November 14, 2019
Called migas if you use corn or even flour tortillas in Texas
 
Author Comment
Kristen M. November 21, 2019
Hey all, check out my response to Elizabeth above (and the other cooks who've made this recipe and described it)—all of these variations from around the world are wonderful dishes, but I think the texture here is unique.
 
Francine H. November 13, 2019
Trader Joe's Frozen Garlic Naan is life changing. Appetizer, garlic bread, sandwich, snack w/butter, dipper, works in almost situation, except feeding aa sweet tooth.
 
Author Comment
Kristen M. November 21, 2019
Excellent tip, Francine!
 
bastos1 November 13, 2019
Ramen 🍜 Go's good to add anything ... Even a week old sofa pizza 🍕 !
 
Author Comment
Kristen M. November 21, 2019
Thanks for the tip, bastos1!
 
Maureen B. November 13, 2019
This is basically matzo brie. For the author not to mention this feels wrong.
 
Catherine November 13, 2019
Agreed
 
sarahmina November 17, 2019
Except that matzo brie is matzo soaked in water to make it soft, and this is pita fried in butter to make it crispy....
 
Author Comment
Kristen M. November 21, 2019
Hey all, check out my response to Elizabeth above (and the other cooks who've made this recipe and described it)—both are wonderful dishes, but I think the texture here is unique.
 
Kitiara L. November 13, 2019
This is suspiciously like Matzoh-bri?(sp) that my Jewish room-mate introduced me to in college. Just Matzoh and eggs.
 
Author Comment
Kristen M. November 21, 2019
Hi Kitiara, check out my response to Elizabeth above (and the other cooks who've made this recipe and described it)—both are wonderful dishes, but I think the texture here is unique.
 
Sergio November 13, 2019
Mexican version would be Corn Tortillas, and eggs, with a salsa of course.
The book looks awesome! My wife is Jewish, I'm Mexican and my kids MexiJews. I love to mash up the culture; that's what cooking is all about.
 
Cynthia V. November 13, 2019
It’s pitaquiles!
 
Martha November 13, 2019
Here is a link I found at Pinterest of the Mexican version with corn tortillas, refried beans and salsa verde/roja. You may also add queso fresco or cotija cheese and they’re simply delicious 😋. They’re called Migas.
https://pin.it/256ezffcewrzyf
 
Candacerain November 14, 2019
You don't really need the beans. Maybe on the side. My grandmother and mother made this all the time. I'd make it with just egg and corn tortillas then put ketchup on top! Yummm! I make it when I miss my mom or when I am low on groceries but have the two ingredients.
 
Author Comment
Kristen M. November 21, 2019
Thanks all for sharing your thoughts—love pitaquiles!
 
Lynn November 13, 2019
My favorite breakfast growing up was scrambled eggs with toast. My mother would fry bacon and then fry cubes of bread in the bacon grease. Begin scrambling the eggs until they are about halfway done and then add in the crumbled bacon and cubes of bread so it all binds together. Still one of my favorites!
 
Author Comment
Kristen M. November 21, 2019
Wow—yum!
 
Catherine November 13, 2019
I had a similar thought as AK- it’s matzo brei! But with better bread :)
 
ymgranger November 13, 2019
In our house we have old corn tortillas rather than pita, and I am happy to say that we do this with them, with salsa instead of honey. But I would like to try this too!
 
Kandice S. November 13, 2019
Us too, I grew up with it thanks to my Mexican-American uncle and his family. it's called "migas".
 
kathleen November 13, 2019
I make Migas all the time, learned about them from a friend that grew up in Texas. Some kind of egg dish is always my go to quick dinner choice.
 
Author Comment
Kristen M. November 21, 2019
Hey all, if you'd like to get a sense of how this differs from other wonderful variations like migas, check out my response to Elizabeth above (and the other cooks who've made this recipe and described it). Thank you for sharing yours!
 
AK November 13, 2019
Looks delicious, and reminiscent (to me) of matzo brei.
 
Paula C. November 13, 2019
Exactly what I came to say! I love matzo brei.
 
jpriddy November 13, 2019
Me too! A friend is always trying to get me to make it.
 
Author Comment
Kristen M. November 21, 2019
Hey all, check out my response to Elizabeth above (and the other cooks who've made this recipe and described it)—both are wonderful dishes, but I think the texture here is unique.
 
Nozlee S. November 13, 2019
Ahh, my mom has always made this for my family as a special treat breakfast, because of course an Iranian family always has extra pita lying around -- you're so right that it's the giant amount of butter/ghee that makes it. It never occurred to me to think about whether it was a more widespread recipe, I'm so happy to learn this!
 
Author Comment
Kristen M. November 21, 2019
I love hearing this, Nozlee!