Perico - Colombian/Venezuelan scrambled eggs with peppers, tomatoes, and onions - Diversivore.com

Perico – Colombian Eggs with Tomatoes & Peppers

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Perico

Scrambled Eggs with Tomatoes, Peppers, & Onions

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This post is the second in a series of awesome egg recipes for 2018 brought to you in collaboration with BC Egg.
All opinions are my own.

Breakfast and I have a weird thing going on. It’s kind of an all-or-nothing relationship. I try to make myself eat something in the morning, but more often than not my ‘breakfast’ consists of a two-shot Americano. I know I should eat more, but the problem is that what I WANT to eat is usually a full-on meal. I don’t really want cereal or toast (though if we have proper Montreal-style bagels I’m all over them), and I just can’t get excited about oatmeal. What I want is something hot and filling. I want a big ol’ breakfast, preferably with eggs. What I want, I’ve come to realize, is food like perico.

Perico. It means ‘parakeet,’ a name that most likely references the beautiful and vibrant colours of the dish, though nobody’s 100% certain. It’s basically a light and veggie-loaded South American take on scrambled eggs, and it hits that sweet spot in the Venn diagram of tasty, filling, and easy to make. The dish hails from Colombia and Venezuela (collectively part of the historical “Gran Colombia” region of South America) where it’s a popular breakfast meal. As you’d expect from something so simple, there are regional variations in ingredients, and my version is a little more typically Colombian thanks to the use of scallions (green onions) in place of regular onions.

Perico is wonderful on its own, but (and this is definitely my ‘all-or-nothing’ approach to breakfast talking) it’s truly spectacular as part of a full-on Colombian breakfast. I decided early on that I wanted to really do it right for this recipe so that I’d have a bit more to photograph, and BOY am I glad that I did. I served my perico with black beans, cheese, arepas, and hot chocolate – a fairly classic Colombian breakfast spread. That’s right folks, hot chocolate for breakfast. I think Colombia is on to something. Every one of the sides was made from scratch, and I’m planning to get a few complimentary recipes up here on Diversivore soon. I hope you’ll give them all a try, but I’m especially hopeful that you’ll try your hand at arepas. They’re simple, filling little cornmeal cakes that are delightfully easy to make and irresistible when stuffed with all of the other ingredients.

Recipe Notes

Perico is wonderfully (even shockingly) easy to make. The accompanying dishes are likewise surprisingly easy, so if you’ve got the time, I highly recommend going all out and making arepas, beans, etc. I mean it when I say it’s easy too – my kitchen sink decided to break the day before I made this, and yet I made the perico, arepas, beans, and hot chocolate quite easily nonetheless.

The notes here focus on the perico themselves. To learn more about the accompanying sides please refer the end of this section.

Eggs, Done Right

It can’t get much more classic than eggs for breakfast. But while scrambled eggs, fried eggs, and omelettes are among the most popular and well-known of breakfast foods, they’re perennially over-cooked. If you don’t believe me then watch this video of Chef Jacques Pepin making an omelette. You can see just how careful and attentive he is to the details, and how important it is to get the eggs just right (and not cooked to perdition). Of course eggs are a somewhat personal thing, with everyone preferring a different level of doneness. I spent the first thirty or so years of my life ordering eggs fried quite hard, though I’ve since become a medium-set-yolk kind of guy.  My dad, bless his heart, likes his eggs poached to the degree that the restaurant we went to when I was a kid called them “hockey pucks.”

But when talk turns to ‘bad’ scrambled eggs, the word ‘rubbery’ comes up pretty regularly. There’s not one correct stopping point when it comes to cooking scrambled eggs, with some people liking them soft and nearly runny, with others (like me) preferring something a bit more set. Regardless, scrambled eggs should be light, soft, and wonderfully airy, and not rubbery little lumps. The key to success with scrambled eggs is air. You want to get a lot of air into your eggs before you start cooking them, and then you want to keep your stirring gentle once they’re in the pan. Get a whisk out and really go to town on mixing up the eggs – the more air you incorporate in them the better. After all, a fried egg isn’t fluffy, and scrambled eggs without air are basically just big ol’ fried eggs. Don’t overdo it on the heat either, as a scalding pan with brown and crisp up the eggs. I love crispy edges on my fried eggs, but that’s not what we’re going for here. Stir the eggs just enough to keep them moving in the pan. If you, like me, like your scrambled eggs just-set, wait until they look just a tiny bit underdone (i.e. they jiggle in the pan and still look just a bit wet), then transfer them to a warm plate. They’ll finish cooking and set just a bit more thanks to the residual heat in them.

Cooking Tomatoes

I could simply say to read the instructions below carefully, as there’s everything you need to know about cook times there, but I thought I’d take a moment to talk about cooking tomatoes.

Perico is distinctive from many other egg and scrambled egg dishes because it includes cooked tomato. I’m not entirely sure why this is, but in the West, we tend to take our tomatoes in one of two forms: raw, or cooked to perdition. It’s not terribly common to see them cooked in the same manner as, say, peppers. But to do this, you want to prep your tomatoes carefully and pay close attention to them while they cook. I used good hot-house roma tomatoes. They’re solid and meaty, with easily removed seeds and thick walls. Texturally, they’re surprisingly close to peppers, and they hold up well to cooking. If you can’t get roma tomatoes, choose the densest, meatiest tomato you can find. If you only have softer tomatoes, make sure to seed them very well and reduce the cooking time for them slightly.

Onions vs Scallions, Variations

Scallions are the typical onion of choice in Colombian perico, while conventional onions are used more in Venezuela. Feel free to adapt to whatever you prefer or have on hand.

There are plenty of variations possible depending on personal tastes and available ingredients. Many recipes will include a little annatto, cilantro, or hot pepper (though spicy food is considerably less common in Colombia than it is in, say, Mexico). The choice of peppers used isn’t terribly important, though I personally recommend using at least a little green pepper for both the added colour and the distinctive flavour.

Serving and Sides

No matter how you eat it, perico is delicious. But if you want to put together a full-on Colombian/Venezuelan breakfast, there are some simple accompaniments that I wholeheartedly recommend.

First and foremost: arepas. These simple little corn-flour patties are a cornerstone of Colombian and Venezuelan cooking. Made from a type of pre-cooked ground maize dough called masarepa, they’re fried (sometimes grilled or baked), then split open and filled with all kinds of different foods. In this case, a little perico, some beans, and some salty cheese.

For the cheese, I like Mexican cotija. It’s tangy and salty, making it a nice contrast to the other ingredients. If you want to replicate that flavour to some degree but can’t find cotija, try a good quality feta. A simple fresh cheese would be nice as well.

I made black beans from scratch for this recipe (something that’s ridiculously easy with an electric pressure cooker), but you could use canned black beans, ideally perked up with some herbs and a bit of onion and garlic.

And hot chocolate. I mean, why not? It’s delicious and simple. I make mine with a good milk chocolate and a pinch of cinnamon. It’s fantastic, and a great way to round out the meal. Enjoy.


Nutrition Facts
Perico - Colombian Eggs with Tomatoes & Peppers
Amount Per Serving
Calories 149 Calories from Fat 90
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 10g 15%
Saturated Fat 3g 15%
Polyunsaturated Fat 1g
Monounsaturated Fat 5g
Cholesterol 317mg 106%
Sodium 208mg 9%
Potassium 271mg 8%
Total Carbohydrates 5g 2%
Dietary Fiber 1g 4%
Sugars 3g
Protein 10g 20%
Vitamin A 38%
Vitamin C 135%
Calcium 5%
Iron 9%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

Nutritional Summary

The nutritional information shown is for an individual serving (1/6th of the total amount) without any sides.

GOOD NEWS:
Low in calories, high in veggies and vitamins, and overall a very healthy meal.

BAD NEWS:
This is mostly eggs, so the cholesterol is high. Bear in mind that it doesn’t include any of the sides or accompaniments.

TRIM IT DOWN:
The eggs themselves are already quite light, though you could omit an egg yolk or two if you wanted. If you want to keep the entire meal lighter, serve the perico as-is or with beans and some fresh cilantro or parsley.

Ingredient Pages

No ingredient pages have been written yet for any of the ingredients in this recipe.  Like to see one?  Let me know in the comments below or by email.

Pantry Pages

No pantry pages have been written yet for any of the ingredients in this recipe.  Like to see one?  Let me know in the comments below or by email.

  • Dairy-free
  • Gluten free
  • Vegetarian
  • 15-minutes
  • Inexpensive

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5 from 14 votes
Perico - Colombian/Venezuelan scrambled eggs with peppers, tomatoes, and onions - Diversivore.com
Perico - Colombian Eggs with Tomatoes & Peppers
Prep Time
5 mins
Cook Time
10 mins
Total Time
15 mins
 
Colourful and packed with flavour (not to mention veggies), perico is a fantastic South American twist on classic scrambled eggs. It's wonderfully easy to make, and especially amazing when served with black beans, arepas, cheese, and hot chocolate.
Course: Breakfast
Cuisine: Colombian, South American, Venezuelan
Servings: 6 servings
Calories: 149 kcal
Ingredients
  • 8 large eggs
  • pinch salt plus more to taste
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 4 scallions whites and light green portions, thinly sliced (see note)
  • 2 medium bell peppers (any color) seeded and diced
  • 2 medium tomatoes seeded and diced
  • 2 cloves garlic
Instructions
  1. Thoroughly whisk the eggs with a little salt. You want to whisk them quite well, as more air in the eggs makes for a fluffier, lighter end result.
  2. Heat the oil in a over medium heat in a frying pan (non-stick or well-seasoned cast iron work well). Add the onions and bell peppers and saute for 2-3 minutes. Add the tomatoes and garlic and saute for an additional 2 minutes, taking care to stir gently to avoid crushing the tomatoes.
  3. Reduce the heat to medium/low. Season the vegetables in the pan with a pinch of salt (and pepper, if you like, though I leave it out). Pour the eggs over the vegetables and stir constantly, but gently. Once the eggs have just set (about 2 minutes), remove everything from the pan and serve immediately - preferably with black beans, cheese, arepas, and hot chocolate!
Recipe Notes

Scallions are the typical onion of choice in Colombian perico, while conventional onions are used more in Venezuela. Feel free to adapt to whatever you prefer or have on hand.

Comments

  1. Now that’s MY kind of breakfast! Love lots of veggies when I have eggs. I’m going to see if I can find the arepas flour to make the arepas. They’re gluten-free!

  2. I move a good scrambled egg recipe like this one. Quick to whip up and great on their own or on a bagel, in a tortilla, with hash browns and more. So versatile.

  3. This looks a lot like a scrambled egg dish that my mother used to make when I was growing up, though she called it “eggs pan-American”. No idea where she picked up the recipe, but I think she’d wholeheartedly approve of me giving it the full Columbian-style spin like you’ve done here… I love me some arepas!

  4. That’s my kind of breakfast. No toast or cereal for me. I have to have something like eggs! Love the full spread with beans, arepas, and cheese. Plus hot chocolate! Sign me up!

  5. I love a flavorful, protein rich breakfast! The hubby like to eat pancakes, but I’ll take these eggs please!

  6. What else can you ask for a perfect breakfast? This dish is calling out to me. Certainly going to make it this weekend.

  7. Cooking eggs really takes some skills and finesse and those eggs look fluffy and delicious. I love the addition of vegetables. Definitely a great breakfast or brunch!

  8. Beautiful colors and wonderful flavor combination. These eggs would be something I could get out of bed for! What time is breakfast?

  9. Wow, I’ve never heard of perico before, but I think I love it!! This looks so delicious for breakfast, lunch, or dinner! Or just a midday snack that would make me super happy 🙂

  10. I so agree- the older I get, the more likely I am to just have a coffee for breakfast. But I am embracing “breakfast for dinner”- and this looks phenomenal. I love all those veggies mixed in- it’s so bright! The restaurant I used to work at had an option for “soft” (slightly less cooked) scrambled eggs– those were the only scrambled eggs they served that weren’t overcooked lol. I’m adamant about non-rubbery eggs!

  11. I’m also a huge fan of breakfast–the bigger the better! I often toss a few nibbles and such into scrambled eggs because it’s just so much easier than an omelette. Your veggie stuffed eggs served alongside arepas, black beans, and cheese sounds like the perfect breakfast to me!

  12. What a great looking dish. I love breakfast and this would get me moving to the table ASAP!! Frankly, I wouldn’t mind having this as a lunch or having it as a light dinner. I would like having it in a tortilla wrap — I bet it would delicious.

  13. I love eggs and anyway is fine for me… especially with all of the added veggies you have in here! I really appreciate the tip on selecting the right tomatoes to go into them. Id never realized how much I wished they would hold up better. The firm Roma did the trick– every bite was delicious!

  14. We make eggs like this all the time, but I didn’t realize it was a traditional Colombian dish and had a name and everything! I want to make all the sides to go with it! Big breakfasts are my fave!

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