We were never a bread and butter family. If bread was going to be served with lunch or dinner (and let’s face it, it usually was), it was used to sop up all of the delicious sauces and juices which came with our great meals, like green beans with potatoes, stewed green peas and horiatiki salad. No butter required. And even if the meal was not bathed in rich delicious sauces, butter was unnecessary because our parents would either drizzle our pieces of bread with olive oil, or create an aromatic olive oil and vinegar combination that we could then dip our bread into.
One of our parents most frequently asked questions, after “How are the girls?” and “Did you eat?” is “Do you need oil?”. They are referring, of course, to olive oil, which is shipped to them by various family members with olive groves in Greece several times a year. Liquid gold. The olive oil is kept in their garage, in the huge containers that it travelled in, and they parcel it out to us and to our brother whenever we risk running out. Our parents literally panic if we tell them that we ran out of olive oil. This is how it has always been, and because of that we tend to forget how lucky we all are to have on hand fresh, pure and authentic Greek olive oil.
Growing up there were very few things that only one of our parents would make; generally they worked together to prepare their delicious meals and desserts. But some things…some things belonged to only one of them, and fried eggs belonged to our father.
On weekend mornings our father would often greet us with a fried egg or two. Αυγά μάτια (which literally translates into eggs eyes – bizarre!) are a variation of sunny-side up eggs made more delicious because they are fried in olive oil. This cooking technique results in an outer edge of crispy egg white and a yolk which is cooked just perfectly. Sprinkled with just a touch of salt and pepper, they are a simply beautiful way to start the day.
Poor peas. We don’t think there has ever been a more maligned vegetable. Word on the street is that toddlers hate them, teenagers refuse them and grown men weep when they are added to an otherwise perfect dinner of meat and potatoes. As far as we know, peas are the only vegetable that kids would rather shove up their noses instead of into their mouths. And it doesn’t end there. If you want to insult someone’s intelligence, call them a pea-brain. Facebook has a page devoted to hating peas, creatively called, “I hate PEAS!!!”. (Incidentally, this page has more followers than our Mia Kouppa Facebook page. Friends, can we please fix that?) Then there was that time when the New York Times published a recipe suggesting that peas be added to guacamole. Hysteria ensued. Peagate was such a big deal that even President Obama weighed in…against the pea! We don’t get it. Perfectly round, vibrantly green, and subtly sweet, we think peas are fantastic. Doubt us? Keep reading.
This is a weird recipe, but it’s one which is perfect to have available when you 1) haven’t done your groceries and so have nothing else to cook, 2) have about 10 minutes to throw dinner on the table, 3) have a houseful of hungry kids to feed, 4) are alone and just need something delicious to fill your belly so you can get on with your day or, 5) would rather be knitting.