Fresh Herb Kuku
Kuku is a traditional Persian egg dish similar to a frittata. This version by the Iranian food writer Najmieh Batmanglij was served at the White House at Michelle Obama's Nowruz celebration on April 6. In it, a variety of fresh green herbs are mixed with fragrant spices, chopped walnuts and just enough eggs to bind everything together. Dried barberries, caramelized with grape molasses or sugar, make a pretty and sweet-tart garnish. If you can’t get barberries, substitute dried cranberries. Kuku can be served warm or at room temperature, and can be made a day in advance. Leftovers make excellent sandwiches when stuffed into lavash or pita with yogurt.
- Serves: 6 persons
- ½cup plus 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
- 2medium yellow onions, finely chopped
- 1 ½teaspoons coarse sea salt
- 1teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1teaspoon baking powder
- ½teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ½teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
- ½teaspoon ground cardamom
- ½teaspoon ground turmeric
- ¼teaspoon ground cumin
- ½teaspoon ground rose petal (optional)
- 1cup finely chopped parsley
- 1cup finely chopped cilantro
- 1cup finely chopped fresh dill
- 1tablespoon dried fenugreek leaves (optional)
- ½cup coarsely chopped walnuts
- ½cup finely chopped romaine lettuce
- ½cup finely chopped spring onions, white and green parts
- 2garlic cloves, grated on a Microplane or minced
- 1tablespoon rice flour
- ⅓cup dried barberries or cranberries, soaked in cold water for 15 minutes, rinsed and drained
- 1teaspoon grape molasses, or substitute sugar
- Lavash, for serving (optional)
- Yogurt, for serving (optional)
Step 1Heat 1/4 cup of the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add onions and cook until lightly golden all over, 15 to 20 minutes. Transfer onions to a medium bowl and cool to room temperature; reserve skillet.
Step 2Heat oven to 400 degrees and line a 9-x-12-inch baking dish with parchment paper.
Step 3In a large bowl, lightly whisk to combine eggs, salt, pepper, baking powder, all of the spices and the rose petal, if using. Add caramelized onions, all of the herbs, walnuts, lettuce, spring onion, garlic and rice flour. Fold just to combine; do not overmix.
Step 4Brush prepared baking dish with 1/4 cup oil. (It may look like a lot, but it gets absorbed into the batter.) Add batter, smoothing out the top and pushing it to the sides. Bake until center is set, about 20 minutes, and transfer to a cooling rack.
Step 5Meanwhile, place the skillet used to cook the onion over medium heat. Add remaining 1 tablespoon oil, the barberries, grape molasses or sugar and 2 tablespoons water. Simmer, stirring, until liquid is reduced and fragrant, about 4 minutes.
Step 6Top cooked kuku with caramelized barberries and cut into 6 equal pieces. Serve hot or room temperature, with lavash and yogurt, if desired.