For the nights—the many, many nights—when I forget about dinner, I found a new escape hatch. It’s faster than boiling a pot of pasta water, easier to clean up than grilled cheese, and only requires adding one more staple to your fridge that might not already be there.
Ready? Your new staple is…pita bread. Plain, whole wheat, za’atar-spiced, whatever you fancy.
Oh, it’s looking awfully stale? Even better.
For the first time in at least a decade, I’ve started buying pita two bags at a time, just so I never find myself at 11 p.m., hungry and stranded without it.
All because of this simple little recipe for toasted pita and scrambled eggs, or fatoot samneh, a Yemenite-Jewish dish from Leah Koenig’s sweeping 400-recipe tome, The Jewish Cookbook. It’s part of a larger category of Middle Eastern dishes called fatoot, which means “crumbled” in Arabic, that repurpose stale flatbread (see also: fattoush, the delicious, leftover pita salad with tomatoes and cucumbers).
Toasted pita with scrambled eggs sounds so unassuming, I might not have noticed it as I was thumbing through more flashy-sounding dishes like huevos haminados (eggs slow-cooked in coffee grounds) and bulemas (rolled pastries stuffed with eggplant and feta). But Koenig wrote to me, “It is shockingly delicious. I ate it for dinner about five days in a row after developing the recipe because I was obsessed.” So of course I had to know for myself.
The first time I tasted it, I froze. Why is this so good? How are these three ingredients, cooked so quickly, so comforting?
I’ve decided one answer is a not-shy amount of clarified butter (or ghee or even regular butter) that helps resurrect the torn pita from stiff and clammy to toasty, bronzed, and crunchy. Then the eggs soft-scramble around them to marry creamy and crisp, two textures we love on their own, and exponentially more together.
One last happy surprise is serving with a drizzle of optional honey, which takes me back to the sopapillas—fried dough with honey and cinnamon—we ordered every time we visited San Diego when I was a kid, one of my first vivid food memories.
You can instead eat your fatoot samneh plain, or with spicy sauces like s’chug, or any way you want really (my other favorite lately has been with a blop of Brooklyn Delhi’s Rhubarb Ginger Achaar). But if you’re haven’t tasted eggs with a little sweetness—like the sautéed dates in Egypt or maple syrup in New England—I strongly recommend you do.
Fair warning: Once you do, your grocery list might start to look like mine does right now: eggs, honey, pita (two packs!).
• 4 tablespoons clarified butter, ghee, unsalted butter, or chicken schmaltz
• 2 pita breads (6 inch/15cm), ripped into small pieces
• 4 eggs, lightly beaten
• 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more as needed
• Honey, for serving (optional)
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