Every Saturday I like to treat myself to a big breakfast. That is to say I enjoy eggs (scrambled or sunnyside up), some bacon or breakfast sausages, toast, orange juice, fruit, coffee. Yesterday I broke-up the monotony of having the same breakfast by adding some mushrooms leftover from last week and one of my favourite cheeses, Halloumi from Cyprus.
Halloumi cheese is from the island of Cyprus, it’s an PDO appellation product (Product of Designation) status meaning it is made uniquely in a particular geographical region of Europe (Cyprus). It is made of a goat and sheep’s milk blend, it is semi-firm, briny and it holds-up well under heat. It’s great for grilling and in this case, it melts slightly and it squeaks in your mouth when you chew it.
The mushrooms I used for this strapetsada (a Greek scrambled egg dish traditionally made with tomatoes and Feta) were Cremini and Oyster mushrooms. These two varieties were simply ones I had on hand but you can use what’s available in your area or in season. There are a multitude of mushrooms out there these days with varying subtle flavours and various cooking times.
In this dish, the Cremini mushrooms need a longer cooking time and the Oysters require little time. They need little time and you do not want them to get mushy from overcooking. The dish is complemented with fresh thyme and tarragon, the Halloumi and mushrooms offering similar textures in your mouth and the crispy bacon makes the dish into one you will make for breakfast, brunch or as a dinner if you’re in Greece (or Europe).
Mushroom Strapetsada With Halloumi and Crispy Bacon (Στραπατσαδα με Μανιταρια, Χαλουμι και Τραγανό Μπέικον)
1 cup sliced Cremini mushrooms
1 cup Oyster mushrooms, large ones torn in half
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/3 cup diced onions or scallions
4-6 slices of Halloumi cheese, torn into pieces
6 eggs, beaten
splash of cream or evaporated milk
4-5 strips of crispy bacon
salt and pepper
1 tsp. fresh thyme
1 tsp. chopped fresh tarragon
drizzle of extra-virgin olive oil
chopped fresh chives for garnish
spoonfuls of salsa or splashes of your favourite hot sauce
- Add your olive oil into a large heavy skillet over medium heat and add the onions and garlic and soften for about 5 minutes. Now add the Cremini mushrooms with some salt and pepper and stir. Allow the mushrooms to soften for another 3-4 minutes, adding more olive oil if needed.
- In the meantime, crack your eggs in a bowl with a splash of cream, salt and pepper, thyme and the chopped fresh tarragon. Whisk and set aside. Once the mushrooms have softened, add the Oyster mushrooms and stir in and cool for a minute. Now add the pieces of Halloumi cheese and stir in for another minute.
- Time to add the eggs, stir in until the eggs have form soft curds then crumble half of the bacon and stir-in. Adjust seasoning with salt and pepper and add some more olive oil and plate.
- Garnish with the remaining crumbled crispy bacon, chopped chives and fresh ground pepper. Serve family style with toast or good crusty bread.
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