Where better to start a blog than with breakfast.
Turkish eggs seem a very en vogue breakfast at the moment. I’ve seen recipes for them in several cookbooks released over the last year or so (notably, Diana Henry’s Simple and Nigella’s At My Table). Dan Doherty seems to be the first to include (Spanish) chorizo in his variation of the Turkish eggs. There aren’t many things that aren’t improved by the addition of chorizo.
Turkish eggs, or Cilbir as they are properly known, are a simple dish. Poached eggs are plopped onto some thick yoghurt, drizzled with a spicy butter. Some recipes have the yogurt spread on flat bread or some toasted sourdough, others have the yoghurt in a bowl ready for dunking with a hunk of bread. I prefer the latter. The spicy butter is usually made by gently heating some butter with pup biber, a mild but tasty pepper flake favoured in Turkish cuisine. Dan Doherty fries chorizo in butter to reach a similar, if meatier result.
My only criticism of Dan Doherty’s recipe is the instruction to warm through the yogurt in a third pan. This just isn’t necessary. Between poaching eggs, toasting bread and making the chorizo butter – a fourth task to be done simultaneously is one task too many for a leisurely brunch. Take the yoghurt out of the fridge half hour before and warm the serving bowls/plates. This will suffice at taking the chill off the yoghurt. I always avoided poached eggs because they were faffy and inconsistent, but Dan Doherty’s method has changed all that. In fact, his treatment of eggs in general is worth the cost of the book alone.
Apologies for the adulation that follows – it is well deserved.
The dish itself is delicious. The poached eggs oozing their sunburst of golden yolk into the yoghurt, rippled with crimson from the spicy butter. It looks like utter carnage, into which you thrust your shards of toasted sourdough. The only hints of any freshness are the garnish of chopped mint leaves that – a very necessary. It may not be delicate, but Turkish eggs make for very good eating indeed.
I can’t express how delicious Turkish eggs are. The sharp yoghurt and fresh mint mask the richness of the dish which leads to wonton overeating. I’ve never had anything but a spotless plate – but I often feel a little nauseous after. My only other deviation from Dan Doherty’s superlative cilbir is crushing a garlic clove (or two) into the yoghurt. You could also sprinkle some mixed seeds on top, or a good pinch of pul biber (Turkish pepper flakes).
These Turkish Eggs really such a winning combination of flavours. If breakfasts could always taste this good, I would probably have brought out the welcome banners for the Ottoman Empire our shores.