I met a man once who told me Jews were weird because they eat fish for breakfast. I wasn’t quite sure how to respond to that. I could have explained that not all Jews do. Jews from the Mediterranean area, Sephardic Jews, don’t. But I didn’t tell him that because I sensed he didn’t care. Besides, it is true that Jews from Eastern Europe, the Ashkenazi, do eat fish in the morning. Lots of people from Eastern Europe do, especially in the north.
Being Ashkenazic myself, I was raised on bagels with lox and cream cheese for breakfast. Though when I could, I preferred a smear of whitefish salad on my bagel. I have fond memories of smoked whitefish, though since moving to the Pacific Northwest, I haven’t had it very often. In fact, I haven’t had bagels very often either. With a son who is gluten-free, we just don’t like having them in the house.
So I suppose I could take the fish-free breakfast route. But why? We may not have much smoked whitefish in the Pacific Northwest, but we do have smoked salmon. And we do eat eggs. Of all egg dishes, one of my favorites is the frittata, an Italian dish that some people describe as an open-face omelet. But unlike the omelet, frittatas are easy to make for multiple people, making it a great choice for a family. I also love the idea of playing with an Italian dish. Many Italian immigrants and Jewish immigrants moved to large cities and often lived in neighborhoods close to one another. Italian food became an important part of the American Jewish experience. As a child I probably ate more Italian food than I did Jewish food.
6 oz smoked salmon
1 cup goat kefir (can substitute cow milk, cream, or kefir)
2 T fresh dill
oil (we usually use olive oil)
Beat together eggs, add kefir and finely chopped dill. Set aside.
Cut leeks in half and rinse under running water or soak in a bowl to clean dirt from inner layers. Slice leeks and asparagus into 1/4 inch pieces. Add about two tablespoons of oil to a preheated pan, add the leeks and asparagus and cover. Sweat the leeks and asparagus on low/medium heat for about 5 minutes. Meanwhile, slice mushrooms and crumble salmon. Add mushrooms, and salmon to leeks. Continue to sweat on low/medium heat for a few more minutes, until just soft. Do not let the vegetables to become brown or mushy.
Season the egg mixture with a little salt and pepper if the salmon isn’t too salty. Add enough oil to a preheated non-stick pan to just cover the bottom. Pour egg mixture into pan. Cook at medium/low for approximately one minute to allow mixture to begin to set. Add the vegetables and salmon to egg mixture, distributing evenly. Cover and cook over medium/low heat until fully set, approximately 15-20 minutes. Turn out onto a cutting board and cut into 8 pieces (pizza cutters work well). Garnish with dill.
Serves 4 – 8. One wedge plus potatoes or a light salad is enough for one. We often just have two wedges and call it good.