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Perico is a dish served in Venezuela and Colombia that is essentially scrambled eggs with a few extra ingredients added. Most perico recipes call for the additions of onions, tomatoes and green peppers that have been finely diced. In Colombia, the eggs are usually served alongside meats such as bacon, while in Venezuela they are served with a traditional type of small, muffin-like bread known as an arepa. While the dish can be made quickly, most preparations involve the eggs being cooked very slowly over low heat.
A complete meal can be made from perico, and it is most often eaten as a breakfast food. The combination of the eggs, vegetable and side dishes involving carbohydrates or meats can make it very substantial. For this reason, the dish can be eaten as a lunch or a dinner or even made into a sandwich when placed between two arepas.
One of the key elements in the traditional preparation of perico is how the eggs are cooked. Most recipes call for the eggs to be heated slowly over a low flame, which can help to cook and develop the flavors of the added onions, tomatoes and peppers — if they are not cooked beforehand. Two keys to successfully making perico without overcooking the eggs are to maintain low heat and to pay attention to the pan at all times.
The eggs need to be placed in a pan, usually containing melted butter, after they have been scrambled in a bowl. Constant stirring or whisking over low heat will cause the small portions of the egg mixture that have solidified on the bottom of the pan to rise to the surface, developing the pieces that eventually form the scrambled eggs. Another method of cooking perico involves drawing a spatula or other flat implement across the bottom of the pan as the egg cooks, forming long sheets of egg. This can help to keep the egg moist while also providing a firm structure that can help it sit firmly on an arepas.
The additional ingredients that are mixed into the egg can be added raw or cooked ahead of time. This is usually done to develop the flavors of the onions and green peppers and to draw out the water of the tomatoes to keep from thinning the eggs. Some less traditional additions include hot peppers or cheeses such as feta. The finished dish can be topped with green onions or cilantro for a lighter taste.
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