Spring is the unofficial season of brunching, don’t you think? I don’t know if it’s the new leaf thing or what but the minute March comes around, I want to brunch my heart out. And one of my favorite brunch dishes is this kuku dish. It’s like the Persian cousin to the Italian frittata – except that the eggs are really a supporting role player more than the star. Kuku is one of the main dishes made for Nowruz or Persian New Year, which happens the first weekend of Spring.
Growing up in Los Angeles – home to the largest Iranian community outside of Tehran – Nowruz became the unofficial marker of Spring, even for those of us who aren’t Persian. There are a ton of variations on kuku but it usually has loads of herbs and spices or tons of saffron potatoes. Because I like a best-of-both-worlds sitch, I combined this into this Persian Kuku with Saffron Potatoes and Herbs.
Persian Kuku with Saffron Potatoes and Herbs Recipe
- 1/2 teaspoon saffron threads
- 3 tablespoons canola, grapeseed, or peanut oil
- 1 yellow onion small dice
- 2 garlic cloves grated
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt plus more for the yogurt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
- 1/4 teaspoon ground turmeric
- 6 large eggs beaten until smooth
- 1 pound cooked small red or buttercream potatoes cooled and diced
- 1 cup thinly sliced fresh chives
- 1 cup finely chopped fresh cilantro leaves and stems
- 1 cup finely chopped fresh dill
- 1 cup finely chopped fresh Italian parsley leaves
- 1/4 cup finely chopped toasted walnuts
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 cup plain Greek yogurt
- 5 sprigs fresh mint leaves picked
- 1/2 lemon
- To Make The Kuku: Pour 1 tablespoon of boiling water over the saffron and sit aside until ready to use. Meanwhile, heat the oil in a large (at least 9-inch) cast iron or nonstick frying pan over medium-low heat. Add the onions and garlic, season with the 1 teaspoon of salt and a few cranks of freshly ground black pepper, stir to coat then cook until the onion is translucent, about 5 minutes.
- Add the coriander and turmeric to the pan and stir to coat. Cook until the mixture is fragrant about 30 seconds to 1 minute. Meanwhile, whisk together the eggs, potatoes, chives, cilantro, dill, parsley, walnuts, baking powder, and saffron threads and liquid. Add the onion mixture to the eggs and whisk to combine.
- Wipe out the pan and return it to the stove over medium-low heat then add the butter. When the butter foams, add the egg mix and cook until the edges just set, about 1 minute. Use a rubber spatula and run it around the edge of the kuku so it doesn't stick to the pan. Cover and cook until the the mixture is totally set, about 8 to 10 minutes more.
- To Serve The Kuku: Meanwhile, stir together the yogurt, mint, the zest and juice of the lemon and season with salt and pepper. Taste and add more salt, pepper, or lemon, as desired. When the kuku is set, remove it from the heat and keep it covered another 5 minutes. Cut the kuku into 6 to 12 pieces and serve, topped with the mint yogurt.