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Thursday, January 23, 2014

Kamut, Egg, Goat Cheese and Yellow Pepper Breakfast Skillet

Kamut, Egg, Goat Cheese and Veggie Breakfast Skillet 

Whole Grain Mornings.  That's the title of a new cookbook I don't yet have, but whose very title has my head spinning with ideas.  Megan Gordon's new cookbook will be arriving at my front door soon, thanks to Amazon, but I already have to thank her for inspiring me to make one of the best breakfasts I've had in a long time.

A week or so ago, while prowling the aisles of my local Punnitse ja Säästä shop (it's a bulk foods store for those of you who don't understand Finnish or live nowhere near here - the name means "weigh and save), I came across a bin of Kamut. A relatively unknown grain, Kamut is believed to be the grain of the Pharaohs, with legend proclaiming grains found in their tombs in Egypt - a great story, even if unproven.  Though its actual origin and history are not known, it is believed to have been cultivated in small quantities in the Near East, North Africa and Central Asia.  It had not been grown for commercial wheat until, the story goes, an American airman sent a few grains across the ocean to America to his family in 1949.  Eventually two farmers from Montana, Mack and Bob Quinn, decided to begin growing the grain.  Originally called Khorasan, the Quinns registered the grain under the name Kamut(r) after the Egyptian word for "wheat or wheaten bread" (source: Wikipedia)

So what's the big deal about Kamut?  Besides the fact that I love the idea of cooking with an ancient grain, I also like that Kamut seems to have far fewer allergens than common wheat, with tests showing that two-thirds of people with wheat allergy have no allergy to kamut.  Like all wheat, it contains gluten, but many gluten-sensitive people can eat it without side effects.  (Source: Healing with Whole Foods by Paul Pitchford) In addition, it is rich in unsaturated fats and proteins, slightly larger than the modern wheat kernel, and has a pleasant, chewy flavor that holds up well next to heavy meats and vegetables, in soups, or, well, as a pleasing base for your breakfast.  I had it first with Teriyaki Chicken and Steamed Broccoli and it was fantastic.

I don't know yet if Whole Grain Mornings has any recipes for kamut, but here's one I'd like to share with you.  This recipe is for one, because I was the only one home for breakfast by the time I dreamed this up.  If you are feeding more people, get a bigger skillet and multiply the quantities accordingly.   Could be served up for any meal of the day - but I especially liked it for breakfast

Most health food stores and many larger grocery stores now carry kamut.  Here in Finland, Punnitse ja Säästä carries a big bulk bin of it.  You can also order it online.  If you can't find it, substitute regular wheat kernels, farro or brown rice instead.

Kamut, as with many whole grains, takes a while to cook. I recommend pre-soaking it: I soaked it for about 8 hours (overnight) and then cooked it for 30 minutes.  More specific instructions can be found here from Bob's Red Mill, a great source for whole grains.

Thank you Megan, for the inspiration.  I look forward to cooking through the book.

Kamut, Egg, Goat Cheese and Veggie Breakfast Skillet

Kamut, Egg, Goat Cheese and Veggie Breakfast Skillet

small knob of butter, approx 1 teaspoon
1/3 cup / 3/4 dl cooked kamut (can substitute other whole grains if you can't find kamut)
1 small shallot, diced small
1/4 yellow pepper, sliced in half and then into thin strips
1 organic egg
1 tablespoon soft goat cheese
1/4 cup alfalfa sprouts
4 basil leaves, julienned
salt and pepper to taste

Melt the butter in a small frying pan over medium heat.  Add the shallots and cook until slightly softened, about 2 minutes.  Add the kamut and stir until the grains are fully heated, about 1 minute.  Add the yellow pepper and stir to lightly cook it, one more minute.  With your spatula, spread the mixture toward the outer edges of the pan to create a hole in the center.  Put a small piece of butter there, and crack an egg on top.  Allow the egg to cook for 1 minute, then pour in 3 tablespoons of water and cover the pan with a lid to steam-cook the egg.  Allow it to steam for 2 minutes.  Remove the lid and distribute the goat cheese in small dollops around the kamut mixture in the pan.  Cover with a lid and cook for one more minute.  Turn off the heat, arrange the sprouts over one side of the mixture, sprinkle on the basil, add salt and pepper to taste, and enjoy!

Serves 1.  Multiply quantities to suit the crowd.

Enjoy!

2 comments:

  1. This looks wonderful and how timely; I've just purchased kamut for the first time!

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    1. Jacqueline, I'd love to hear what you think of kamut. I only recently discovered it myself, and really enjoyed the chewy sweetness of the grain. I'd like to try them cooked and then chopped smaller as an addition to a whole wheat sourdough bread - I think the chewiness would be lovely against the softness of the bread crumb. I have my starter prepping now so we'll see how it turns out.

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