Saturday, 25 July 2009

Sfouggato (Σφουγγάτο)

Sfouggato is a simple one-pot summer dish using eggs and garden vegetables. The word 'sfouggato' is derived from the same word for 'sponge'; the dish sometimes turns out like an omelette, while other times it comes out looking like scrambled eggs, depending on the amount of liquid the final dish contains. This dish also goes by other names, like strapatsada (which means something like 'distorted') or kayana, in various parts of Greece. In Hania, courgettes are usually added to it.

sfouggato kayana strapatsada sfouggato kayana strapatsada
This dish requires little cooking time, and it can also be cooked in two installments. Once the zucchini are done, you can turn off the cooker and come back to add the eggs when you are ready to serve the meal, as this dish tastes its best when served freshly made.

For enough to serve two people, you need:
1/2 cup olive oil (don't be sparing here, you will regret it)
400-500g of small zucchini (they are more tender and cook more quickly)
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1-2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
2 medium tomatoes, freshly grated
sea salt, freshly ground pepper and oregano
3-4 eggs, yolks and whites beaten together lightly

Wash the zucchini (to make sure they don't have any grit stuck on them) and chop them into large cubes (or small chunks, if the zucchini have almost turned into marrow). Heat the oil in a wide shallow saucepan and saute the onion and garlic. Add the zucchini and coat them with oil. Turn down the heat, add the tomato and seasonings, cover the saucepan and let the zucchini cook to your liking. (Some people prefer them crunchy and underdone, others like them soft.) When the zucchini are ready, add the beaten eggs, but don't stir. When the egg starts cooking (it will start to set), begin to mix it into the sauce, in light folds so that it doesn't turn into a soup, but comes out looking like scrambled eggs.

sfouggato kayana strapatsada
This dish may look a little messy (in Greek, we say something is 'strapatsariasmeno' when it's been distorted, hence 'strapatsada'), but it is pure ambrosia.

Sfouggato really needs to be made with fresh high-quality ingredients. The eggs really do need to be free-range, otherwise they won't have the right colour, they may smell 'eggy' (ie suplphuric) and all this will contribute to the dish smelling off-putting. The tomatoes can't be underripe or green; they need to exude summer in their appearance and aroma. This dish can also be made with fresh aubergine (before its interior becomes too seedy).

Don't forget to have some sourdough bread handy to mop up the sauce (forget about calories when enjoying this dish) and some wine (in Crete, most people have access to home-brewed rosé wine).

In the winter, the same dish can be made with zucchini-like vegetables that keep their shape, such as asparagus. It can even be made simply with onions, like the dish featured recently on the Hungry Bear.

©All Rights Reserved/Organically cooked. No part of this blog may be reproduced and/or copied by any means without prior consent from Maria Verivaki.