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Monday, September 27, 2021

Brunch time: how to cook eggs, Spanish-style – recipes

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Eggs, morcilla and chickpeas

When we were young, my dad used to make us a classic chickpea stew with morcilla as a quick and easy meal. That’s where I got the idea for this, which I’ve adapted for breakfast or brunch with the addition of eggs. Serve with crusty bread to mop up the juices.

Prep 10 min

Cook 25 min

Serves 2

Olive oil, plus extra-virgin olive oil to finish

1 white onion
, peeled and diced

90g morcilla
, cut into small pieces (morcilla is traditionally bulked out with rice, so is gluten-free, unlike most British black pudding)

1 x 400g can cooked chickpeas
, undrained (you need the water from the tin)

1 sprig fresh thyme

100ml chicken stock

Salt and black pepper

2 large eggs

Heat a little olive oil in a saute pan over a medium heat, then sweat the onion for six or seven minutes, until soft but not coloured. Add the morcilla and fry, stirring, for a couple of minutes, just to cook out, then tip in the chickpeas and their water, thyme and stock, season generously and leave to bubble gently until the liquid reduces and you’re left with a nice, thick sauce.

Spoon into a smallish pan (in Spain, we’d use a terracotta cazuela), so the chickpea mix covers the base, then put on a medium-low heat. Once the sauce is bubbling hot, crack in the eggs and leave to cook until the whites are just cooked and the yolks are still runny. Take off the heat, drizzle with extra-virgin olive oil, and finish with a sprinkling of salt and pepper.

Huevos a la flamenca

When I opened Paco Tapas in Bristol, customers were always looking for a stewy side dish to go with the ibérico pork. My dad suggested this Spanish egg dish, so I tried it out and it went down a treat, working perfectly alongside the meat. I’ve tweaked that dish for breakfast/brunch by making it with oozy eggs and top-quality jamón. It’s best served simply, with bread or some leftover roast pork.

Prep 10 min

Cook 40 min

Serves 2

1 sprig fresh thyme

1 sprig fresh
rosemary

1 bay leaf

Olive oil
, for frying

½ white onion
, finely diced

1 x 400g tin tomatoes

½ tbsp pimentón
– hot and/or sweet, according to taste (I use a mix of both)

50ml extra-virgin olive oil
, plus extra to finish

Salt and black pepper

50g jamón Iberico

2 large eggs

First make a bouquet garni by wrapping all the herbs in a small piece of cloth and tying to secure.

Heat a good glug of oil in a wide pan, then sweat the onion for about 10 minutes, until almost translucent. Add the tin of tomatoes, bouquet garni and pimentón, break up the tomatoes with a spoon, and leave to cook for about 20 minutes, until reduced by a third.

Take out and discard the bouquet garni, then add 50ml extra-virgin olive oil to the pan and blitz the tomato mix with a stick blender, until silky-smooth. Taste and season as required.

Pour the blended tomato sauce into a small pan or cazuela, so it covers the base, and top with half the jamón. Put on a medium-low heat and, once the sauce is bubbling, crack in the eggs and cook until the whites are just cooked and the yolks still oozy.

Take off the heat, finish with a drizzle of extra-virgin olive oil and season with a little black pepper. Top with the remaining ham, and serve.

Cheat’s prawn tortilla

Dad used to make massive tortillas to feed us over the week. I found the process fascinating, because it would take up most of the kitchen, and it was fun watching him try to flip over those huge tortillas. I always serve tortilla with allioli on the side.

Prep 10 min

Rest 30 min+

Cook 25 min

Serves 2

12 large eggs

120g lightly salted crisps
– I use Torres, though any gluten-free plain crisp will do (eg Kettle)

6 large whole prawns

Olive oil

4 garlic cloves
, peeled and minced

Extra-virgin olive oil, for frying the tortilla

Sea salt – I use Maldon

Crack half the eggs into a large bowl. Separate the other six eggs, add the yolks to the bowl (save the whites for another dish) and give it all a good whisk. Add the crisps to the bowl and stir in well – it’s fine if they break up a bit – then set aside for at least 30 minutes (or refrigerate overnight).

Now for the prawns. Remove the heads and shells, and set to one side. Chop the prawn flesh into small pieces. Put a good glug of oil in a frying pan over a medium-high heat and, once hot, add the heads and shells and fry for three or four minutes, until just golden. Add the garlic, cook for a minute more, then turn off the heat and push down on the shells with the back of a spoon to release all the juices. Pass the mix through a sieve into a small bowl, to squeeze out all the juices, and set aside.

Add the chopped prawn flesh to the egg and crisp bowl, and stir gently to combine. Put a slick of extra-virgin olive oil in a roughly 20cm-wide nonstick frying pan on a medium-high heat, and use kitchen towel to wipe it around the pan to coat all over. When it’s really hot, pour in the tortilla mix and leave to cook for about six minutes (if the mix has been in the fridge, you’ll need to give it an extra minute or so).

Once the base of the tortilla is set and the top is only slightly runny, place a plate on top of the pan, then carefully flip it over. Slide the tortilla back into the pan cooked side up, and fry gently for another six minutes on the other side.

Brush the prawn and garlic oil all over the top of the tortilla, sprinkle with sea salt and serve – I always eat tortilla with a big dollop of allioli on the side. Note that the centre is meant to be runny, so don’t be scared.

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