Several years ago, on Haight Street, there used to be an Eritrean restaurant called Massawa, founded by a burned-out freedom fighter. For around two years of that restaurant's two decades on the Haight, they did brunch as well as dinner. We loved this brunch which included foods you'd never see anywhere else in San Francisco, like kecha fitfit. However, the breakfast dish we loved the most wasn't any of their more traditional Ethiopean breakfast foods: it was their romano bean scramble.
Since we left San Francisco and Massawa left the Haight, I've reverse-engineered the scramble. Every year, when we collect our first harvest of romano beans in the summer, it's the first thing I make with them. You can make it too; it's quite delicious for such a simple breakfast dish.
romano bean scramble
- 3 Tbs clarified butter or ghee (subs. vegetable oil with a little butter)
- 1/2 to 3/4 pound romano beans
- 6 eggs
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1/2 to 1 tsp berbere spice mix (subs. chili powder)
- 1/2 tsp sweet paprika
Crack the eggs into a bowl and beat them with a pinch of salt. Stem the beans, and then cut them into 1 inch pieces. Peel and mince the garlic cloves.
Heat the butter/ghee in a large nonstick frying pan. Fry the beans with the minced garlic over medium heat for a minute. Cover for 3 minutes to allow them to steam. Uncover, stir, and fry until all moisture is gone and some of the beans have browned in spots. Check one for tenderness.
Add the berbere and paprika to the beans, using more berbere is you like things spicy, and fry for around 30 seconds, stirring. Turn up the heat to high and pour in the eggs, and keep stirring to coat the beans and scramble the eggs. Turn off the heat and serve as soon as the curds are set.
Add salt to taste; serve with toast.
Note: substituting string beans for the romano beans does not work in this recipe. The taste and texture are too different.