Revuelto, a spring Migas of sorts

This week David Tannis, food writer for the New York Times reprised a recipe for Spanish Asparagus Revuelto from an article originally published in 2014 titled Asparagus, Spanish style.  The inter-web tells me that revuelto is Spanish for scrambled eggs.  So, Spanish asparagus and scrambled eggs.  Sounded good to me.

In reading through the recipe, it struck me that this revuelto sounds a lot like a variation on Migas, which we wrote about several years ago.  A comparison of that Migas to this Revuelto reveals a similar approach in preparation but with more vegetables, without the chickpeas and with eggs scrambled in rather than cooked separately and presented on top of the other ingredients.

I followed Mr. Tannis’ recipe but roughly cut it in half except I used 4 times the amount of pimentón that he called for and double the amount of chorizo.

The end result was very tasty but the eggs didn’t exactly scramble, rather they formed more of a sauce that coated the other ingredients.  I think the asparagus brought a lot more moisture to the dish than I had anticipated, making for the sauciness.  Yummy none the less.

Asparagus Migas

1-1/2 Tbs. olive oil
2 peeled garlic cloves, whole, plus 1 small clove, minced
1 cup day old bread (baguette or ciabatta), torn into 1/2″ pieces
Salt and pepper
2 oz. Spanish chorizo, cut into matchstick pieces
3/4 pound thin asparagus, cut into 1″ – 2″ pieces
1/2 bunch green onions, chopped
4 large eggs, beaten
1 tsp. pimentón (Spanish smoked paprika)
2 Tbs. Italian parsley, roughly chopped

Saute the whole garlic in olive oil until lightly browned, remove and discard.

Saute the bread in the oil until lightly browned and crispy.  Remove from the heat and add a pinch of salt, some pepper and 1/2 tsp of pimentón.  Remove from the saute pan and allow to cool.

Saute the chorizo a minute or two to release some of its oil, add the asparagus and saute for several minutes until the asparagus is tender but still firm.  Add the green onions and saute an additional minute.

Beat the eggs with 1/2 tsp of pimentón and a pinch of salt and some pepper to taste.  Add the eggs to the asparagus mix and cook, stirring until the eggs are just soften and creamy.

Divide the revuelto onto two plates, top with parsley and croutons.  Serve immediately.

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Deconstructed Gazpacho

David Tanis in the New York Times recently published a recipe for a Cold Tomato Soup but he hedged about calling it a gazpacho, that quintessential Spanish “liquid” salad.  But when I read the recipe, disregarding his disclaimer, I immediately thought, “This is a deconstructed gazpacho”.  And so it is, and a pretty good one too!  And, a great way to use some of the summer’s bounty from the garden, especially the ripe tomatoes and fresh pungent  garlic.

I, of course, can’t leave any recipe “unimproved” so here’s my version, to serve two.

Tomato Soup

1-1/2# ripe red tomatoes, cored and cut into haves or quarters depending on their size
2 cloves garlic, sliced
1/2 Tbs. fine sea salt
2 Tbs. extra virgin olive oil
2 Tbs. Vinagre de Jerez, Spanish Sherry vinegar
freshly ground black pepper
pinch of cayenne pepper

Mix the tomato chunks, garlic, salt, olive oil, vinegar and peppers in a bowl and allow to sit at room temperature for about one hour.

Tomatoes macerating

Grater

After macerating, grate the tomatoes through the coarse holes of a box grater using the skins to push the tomato pulp through the grater holes. This is easier than it may sound.  Try to get some of the garlic mashed through too, but don’t worry if most of it stays in pretty big pieces.  Next, pass the grated tomato pulp through a standard kitchen sieve (not a colander or fine mesh sieve) using a spatula to work as much of the liquid through as possible.  Discard the tomato skins, seeds and any chunks of garlic left in the sieve.  Taste the “soup” and adjust the seasonings as necessary but remember, it’s related to gazpacho so it shouldn’t taste like tomato juice or Campbell’s Tomato Soup but rather a little vinegary and slightly peppery.  Refrigerate for at least one hour or up to a whole day.

Garnish (or the rest of the “gazpacho”)

1/2 C. bell pepper – a mix of colors if available – finely diced
1/4 C. red onion, finely diced
Salt and pepper
1 Tbs. extra virgin olive oil
1/2 Tbs. Vinagre de Jerez
2 thick slices of bread, toasted – something sturdy with a good crust, like French, ciabatta, or any coarse country bread.  Cut the slices so they will fit into your soup bowls without crowding.
1 clove garlic, whole, peeled
1 firm but ripe avacado
8 medium shrimp, peeled
4 cherry tomatoes, halved
1 Tbs. butter or olive oil
1 Tbs. flat-leafed parsley
1 Tbs. scallion, minced
Smoked Spanish Paprika (Pimenton), a generous pinch

Mix the peppers, onion, salt, olive oil and vinegar and set aside for 30 minutes.

Heat a cast iron or other heavy pan, until very hot.   Add the shrimp and cherry tomatoes and pan broil until the shrimp are slightly charred.  Add the butter and remove from the heat.

Rub each of the toasts with the clove of raw garlic.  In each soup bowl, put a piece of toast, top with thick slices of avocado and half of the pepper relish.  Carefully pour the soup around the toast.  Arrange the shrimp and cherry tomatoes around the toast.  Drizzle any butter or other juices left in the pan around the soup bowl.  Garnish with the parsley, minced scallion and a generous pinch of smoked paprika sprinkled over the soup.

Deconstructed Gazpacho

Side note on olive oil.  We have discovered a “local” olive oil at our Farmer’s Market.  The brand is Paeleon and it comes from Merill, Wisconsin – sort of.  The fellow who sells it has a family olive grove in Southern Peloponnesus, in Greece where they grow and press the olives into oil.  The oil is bulk shipped to Merill where it is bottled cutting down a bit on it’s carbon footprint (by not having to ship the bottles from Greece).  The oil is excellent, fresh and a little grassy with a nice peppery aftertaste.  I recommend it highly!

It’s a theme – Beans & Greens: Migas

Many cultures have traditional dishes, usually of peasant origin, that combine beans, legumes or pulses with sturdy greens to create a basic all in one meal.  Most are quick to put together and inexpensive because there’s no big piece of meat to cook and if you use canned beans you can often assemble them in less than 30 minutes.  This begins a series of Beans & Greens cookery starting with Migas.

There’s no hiding the peasant roots of Migas – humble, cheap and filling.

Migas

Migas means “crumbs” in Spanish. It’s a dish of Spanish and Portuguese origin that is mainly bread and, depending on where you are, additions of beans, chorizo, leafy greens, and maybe eggs.  Mark Bittman refers to it as bread hash – start with left-over bread and stretch it with what you have on hand or what is local.  I first made Migas from Bittman’s recipe in his Kitchen Express cookbook – basically bread, beans and greens.  There’s no hiding the peasant roots of the dish in that version, humble, cheap and filling.

But I find Bittman’s version to be on the dry side and needing something.  So I’ve evolved a version that’s still cheap and filling but with the addition of a little Spanish chorizo, a little tomato, some green seedless grapes and a fried egg on top that gives the dish added dimension.  I should note that my version isn’t too much of a leap – among the many variations found in Spain, all those additions can be found although not all at the same time.  I should also mention that there is a New-World version, a Tex-Mex dish made from crispy tortilla strips cooked in scrambled eggs that can include tomatoes, onions, Mexican chorizo, re-fried beans and cheese that obviously echos it’s Old World origins.   The Tex-Mex version is said to be an excellent hang-over breakfast.  The Spanish/Portuguese versions are also, often, eaten for breakfast – no hangover required.  We eat it for dinner although I could easily get around it for breakfast.

Migas

2 large slices of country style bread, crusts removed, cut into 3/4″ cubes
1 can garbanzo beans (chickpeas), 16 oz., drained and rinsed
1 oz. Spanish chorizo, cut into 1/8″ matchsticks
1 bunch (about 8 oz) Swiss Chard leaves or other sturdy green cut into shreds
1/2 C. tomatoes, any kind, chopped
1/2 C. Green seedless grapes, cut into halves or quarter (if large)
1/2 Tbs Pimentón (Spanish sweet smoked paprika)
3/4 tsp ground cumin
Salt and pepper, to taste
2 eggs (optional)
Olive oil

In a large skillet or wok, saute the bread cubes over medium heat in 1 Tbs. of olive oil, stirring frequently, until golden and lightly crispy.  Add pimentón, cumin, salt and pepper.  Remove to a plate to cool, reserve.

In the same pan, saute the garbanzo beans over medium heat in 2 Tbs. olive oil, stirring from time to time, until the garbanzos take on a nutty color and are a little crispy/chewy on the outside.  Add the chorizo and saute for an additional minute.  Add the tomatoes and grapes and saute for a minute more.  Add the Swiss Chard and continue to cook until the chard is wilted, adding  a tablespoon or two of water to help steam the greens.  Return the bread cubes to the pan, mix, remove from heat and set aside while you cook the eggs.

Fry the eggs in a little olive oil until done to your taste – we like ours with a runny yolk.  Alternatively, you could poach the eggs.

Mound the bread/garbanzo mixture in a soup-plate and top with an egg.

Serves 2 for dinner or 4 as a first course.

3-Way Chicken (or Ménage à Trois Poulet)

We ended up having chicken three times last week.  All fairly simple and different enough to count as variety in our diet.  A Ménage à Trois Poulet.

I love fresh figs but they’re almost never available in our area.  Last week, however, there miraculously appeared fresh Mission figs in my grocery.  I knew they wouldn’t be around long so I grabbed two boxes.  I also knew they wouldn’t keep long so I set to figuring out something to do with them other than just shove them in my mouth.
The plate on the left is Grilled Chicken Paillard with Fresh Fig Salsita.  A chicken paillard is just boneless, skinless breasts pounded to about 1/4″ thickness.  I marinated ours in olive oil, vinegar, thyme and some Spanish smoked paprika and grilled them but you could pan sear them as well – just don’t overcook them.  Ours were served with Patatas Bravas (the classic Spanish roasted potatoes and spicy tomato sauce) and a side of fresh green beans sauteed with chanterelle mushrooms.  The chicken is accompanied by Fresh Fig Salsita (it’s like a cross between a salsa and a compote).

Fresh Fig Salsita

8 or 9, ripe but firm fresh figs, ends trimmed and cut into thin wedges
1/2 small red onion, very thinly sliced
3 T. medium-dry sherry
2 T. sherry vinegar
1 T. extra-virgin olive oil

Combine the ingredients and gently toss to mix.  Let stand for 30 minutes.  Serve with grilled meat.

From The New Spanish Table, by Anya von Bremzen, Workman Press, 2005, pg. 288.

The middle plate is another chicken breast, boneless and skinless but not pounded.  I honestly don’t remember what I seasoned it with but it was probably ancho chili, cumin, some thyme and basil and smoked paprika added to olive oil and vinegar to use as a marinade and baste.  The sides are Spanish rice (left over rice from Chinese take-out the night before fried with some onion, olive oil and a small amount of roasted tomatoes) and re-fried beans (canned black beans (whole) added to sauteed onion, cumin and Mexican oregano – mashed and fried to a slightly soupy consistency.  I like to keep the beans a little wet with some chunkiness to them, so I don’t puree them – and I don’t use canned re-fried beans – yuck!)

The right-hand plate are chicken thighs, again boneless and skinless, seasoned with a Turkish spice blend from Penzey’s.  Slice 1/2 a very large Vidallia onion and sweat in 1 T. butter and 1 T. olive oil until lightly browned – spread the onions on the bottom of a baking dish large enough to hold all the thighs in one layer.  Lightly brown the chicken thighs in the same pan you used to fry the onions (add a little oil as needed) and arrange on top of the onions.  Poke cherry or grape tomatoes in any spaces between the chicken thighs (try to get at least 2 or 3 tomatoes for each thigh).  Drizzle lightly with olive oil.  Season with coarse sea salt and black pepper.  Bake in 375 degree oven for 20 minutes.  We had these with roasted fingerling potatoes (Russian Banana are a good choice); add a side vegetable or salad of your choice.

None of these preparations is earth-shattering – just simple variations on a scheme – chicken seasoned with spices and herbs from the pantry and enhanced with what’s fresh and available in the market.  It’s not rocket surgery.

Pollo a la Sidra (Chicken braised in cider)

Pollo a la Sidra

This is a great preparation I got from Anya von Bremzen’s “The New Spanish Table” (Workman Publishing, 2005).  Chicken thighs (I used boneless but with the skin on) browned in olive oil and braised with onion, bacon and dry hard cider.  Towards the end you add a Granny Smith apple sautéed in butter and a little vinegar and brown off in the oven.  I’m thinking this recipe might also work with winter squash in place of apples and maybe a bit of pimenton (smoked paprika) – we’ll see in the fall.  I served it on a bed of mixed fresh greens (baby spinach and arugula) with a side of oven roasted potatoes dressed with lemon zest, black pepper and olive oil.  Pretty good.