This is perhaps the simplest Greek recipe in existence and if you are into tomatoes and eggs, this is for you.
The more common name of this dish is “eggs with tomatoes”. In parts of Greece they call it strapatsada, in others, kagianas. In my home, we have always called it eggs with tomatoes and it is what its name implies; scrambled eggs with tomatoes and olive oil.
As with anything simple, though, it requires the best ingredients and a method; a specific method that works and it need not be messed with.
First, you grate the tomatoes, a practice that is very common in Greece to get the juice and pulp of the tomatoes without the skin in order to make sauces. They are slowly simmered in olive oil to produce an intoxicatingly sweet sauce and then, the lightly beaten eggs are added to the pan.
The whole thing gets a gentle mix and then out comes the most honeyed sweet and savory egg and tomato dish you’ve had. Topped with some fresh oregano leaves, lots of black pepper and a drizzle of olive oil, it is the best thing to eat with a good, crusty loaf of bread.
Variations: Even though, customarily, this simple dish doesn’t contain more ingredients, there are some variations. You can add some cubed or crumbled feta when you add the eggs; it will melt and be deliciously tangy. Just be careful not to add too much salt because the feta is already salty.
You can substitute the feta with other cheeses like graviera or kefalotyri.
You can add some boukovo (Greek red chilli flakes) to give the dish an extra kick, or a little smoked paprika to give it a different flavor.
You can add some finely chopped green bell pepper or some long sweet red pepper which you should add together with the tomatoes.
If you’re feeling more adventurous, you can add some loukanika (Greek sausages). Fry them in the olive oil, remove them from the pan and then add the tomatoes.
Greek eggs with tomatoes aka Strapatsada aka Kagianas
Feta and bread are the ideal accompaniments to this dish which is perfect for either lunch or dinner. A glass of cold lager beer or a shot of ouzo wouldn’t hurt either.
If your tomatoes are not in season or are more bland than you expected, add a sprinkle of sugar when you add them to the pan, in order to give them the sweetness they’re lacking.
Don’t be tempted to process the tomatoes instead of grating them. It is not the same. The result will be different and the dish won’t be as it was intended.
I love the flavor of fresh oregano and that’s why I add it sometimes. It is however optional as it changes the flavor profile of this simple dish, as do any other herbs you may add. Fresh or dried oregano, fresh thyme or fresh marjoram are good options.
Yield: 2 servings
2 large, ripe and juicy tomatoes (about 400 g in total)
4 medium-sized eggs, beaten lightly with a fork
2½ Tbsp (35 ml) extra virgin olive oil, plus extra for drizzling on top of the dish
Freshly ground black pepper
A few small fresh oregano leaves (optional)
Special equipment: box grater
Grate the tomatoes (on the large holes of the grater) inside a bowl. As you grate, the skin will remain in your hand, so throw that away.
In a medium-sized skillet or frying pan, add the olive oil and heat over medium-high heat. Add the grated tomatoes and a little salt and pepper. Cook, stirring often, until the tomatoes dry a little bit but not completely, for 7-8 minutes. See photo for reference.
Add the eggs, a little more salt and pepper and stir with a wooden spoon. Cook for about 3 minutes, until they set but still remain juicy, stirring gently every 30 seconds. Don’t overcook or the eggs will be dry.
Serve immediately on plates, sprinkle with a few oregano leaves (optional) and drizzle with some olive oil. Grind some extra pepper on top and enjoy!