Breakfast on weekends in our household was as traditional as you could get with Turkish breakfast. We took our time to set the table, steep our tea, made sure all kinds of marmalade were dished out in little pretty bowls.Besides cheese, olives, fresh tomatoes, cucumbers and sweet peppers, there was always sujuk (sucuk) with eggs. Even if we had a rough week, or argued with each other endlessly, or refrained from talking to the other person all week to make our point, when my mother or dad sizzled those sujuk slices in the pan, all bets were off. Arguments were suspended and truce was established for a brief moment.
Sujuk, that mystery spice and meat stuffed in a sausage casing makes the picture perfect couple with eggs. It is very tasty, not so healthy breakfast. Its garlicky, strong smell hovered in the air long after we were done with our breakfast. Sometimes we went for the mild ones, sometimes spicy to challenge ourselves. I normally did the dishes after the breakfast. I hated cleaning that pan! We did not put any butter or oil to pan-fry the sujuk, it had way more than enough fat in it. We never needed extra grease to fry the eggs. And it took extra scorching hot water to get rid of all that grease while cleaning.
My method to make a good fried eggs with sujuk, is to heat the pan on medium heat for a minute, then add sujuk slices, turning them once for a minute or so. Once it releases its fat, and turns a bit darker color, make room for the eggs by shuffling the sujuk around and crack the eggs one by one. Once the white starts to cook (about 30 seconds after you crack the eggs), cover the lid, reduce the heat. Cook until all of the white is set and cooked but yolks are still little jiggly.
When Saturday rolled around this week, I pulled out my sahan. Sahan is a traditional copper pan in Turkey, dedicated to making eggs. Last time I was in Istanbul, my brother and his fiance gave me two kinds of sahan to make my weekend breakfasts a little bit more enjoyable. However, I know I should be careful and not to abuse my copper pan, as it is lined to block the exposure to copper which can be toxic. If I scratch and expose the copper, it is gone as I can not send it off to a special shop to have it lined again here. So I am sure after a while, my sahans will be used for more decorative purposes than cooking.
The two kinds of sahan I have: one with a flat bottom and a special one that looks like a shallow muffin pan, with little lowered sections for eggs to drop in. When you cook it in the latter one, crack the egg right into these sections. Yolk drops in lower, white covers the yolk on top. In my opinion, this helps the yolk to stay soft and runny, but it is harder to remove the eggs from those little sections once cooked, if it is not greased well enough. And if you don’t have a flat stovetop, it is also harder to balance the pan over the stove.
Nevertheless, these setbacks have never stopped me. Because nothing says “Wake up,people! Breakfast is ready!” louder than the smell of sujuk and soft eggs dotted with rich, golden color fat oozing from that sujuk.