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Easter Eggs : The Breakfast Brik

March 27, 1994|ROSE DOSTI | Dosti is the author of the recently released "Mideast & Mediterranean Cuisines" (Fisher Books: 1993; $9.95, 144 pp)

Of the many pleasant dining experiences I've had in North Africa, one of the most unusual was the dish that French-speaking Tunisians call la breik (or la brik ) a l'oeuf . Breik is the Tunisian Arabic pronunciation of the Turkish word borek , and l'oeuf the French word for egg.

A sheet of filo is topped with a whole egg or two, plus onion, cilantro and seasonings to taste, then folded into a neat envelope shape and fried in oil. The egg inside the package cooks to fried-egg consistency and makes a fantastic breakfast meal in a edible package. You can add cooked, diced vegetables, meat or poultry to the eggs or leave them plain.

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The recipe works best if you use fresh filo, which is available in Middle Eastern and Greek markets. It's possible to use frozen filo, but be sure there are no "wet spots," which can occur if the filo is thawed, refrozen and thawed again.

EGGS IN A PACKAGE (La Breik a l'Oeuf) 1/2 cup chopped onion 1/4 cup chopped cilantro 6 filo pastry sheets Melted butter 6 eggs Salt Freshly ground pepper Paprika Oil

Combine onion and cilantro in small bowl.

Place 1 filo sheet on clean flat surface. Brush with melted butter. Cover remaining filo sheets with plastic wrap to prevent drying. Fold filo sheet in half, making 1 long rectangle. Brush with butter again.

Sprinkle 2 tablespoons onion-cilantro mixture in center. Break 1 egg over onion-cilantro mixture. Sprinkle with salt, pepper and paprika to taste. Fold filo over egg, envelope-fashion, enclosing egg. Moisten seams with water and press lightly with fingers to seal. Pierce in several places with wood pick to let steam escape while frying.

Working with 1 filo sheet at time, repeat with remaining filo sheets and eggs.

Pour oil for frying 1 inch deep into large skillet over medium heat. Carefully lower each egg package into hot oil. Fry, turning frequently to cook evenly, until golden on both sides, 2 to 3 minutes. Serve hot. Remove from hot oil with slotted spoon. Drain on paper towels. Makes 6 servings.

Each serving contains about: 151 calories; 188 mg sodium; 212 mg cholesterol; 6 grams fat; 16 grams carbohydrates; 9 grams protein; 0.13 grams fiber.

Variations:

Eggs and Cheese in a Package:

Add 1/4 cup crumbled feta cheese or 2 ounces cottage cheese to onion-cilantro mixture.

Eggs and Vegetables in a Package:

Add 1/2 cup of any diced cooked vegetable to onion-cilantro mixture.

Ham and Eggs in a Package:

Add 1/4 cup chopped ham to onion-cilantro mixture.

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