~ Basque in a Spanish Breakfast: Huevos Rotos con Chistorra y Potatas (Eggs, Sausage and Potatoes) ~
Put your big boy pants on. Put bigger pants on. This stick-to-your-ribs hard-working hungry-man's one-skillet breakfast contains a days worth of full-flavored tongue-tingling calories. It's got it all -- fried eggs, fried potatoes, fried sausage, and sometimes, even a talo (tortilla) too. Hailing from the high mountainous Navarre regions of Spain, also known sa Basque country, this is a dish of humble origin, poor-man's food. "Huevos rotos" literally means "broken eggs", so it should come as no surprise that the eggs have a soft, runny texture. Nowadays, it's mostly served in homes for celebrations or holidays, but, it's found on restaurant menues all over Spain.
This meal, sometimes eaten for dinner too, is really quite easy to make, as long as you include all of the components, have the proper sausage, and, make it all in the same skillet (so all the flavors and oils blend together) That said, in Spain, what gets put on your plate differs from cook to cook. In some versions the ingredients are diced, tossed together and hashlike (this is ideal for rolling up in a talo). Others layer bite-sized pieces of the cooked components on top of each other, so they all come together in every bite with a knife and a fork. Most versions use 1-2 "sunny side up eggs" with runny yolks. Others prefer a loose scramble of eggs.
Let there be no doubt: the star of this show is the chistorra!
A bit about chistorra: Longer and thinner than traditional chorizo or regular sausages, chistorra is a bright-red, fast-cure, high-fat, minced pork or minced pork-and-beef sausage. My experiences with Spanish pork and pork sausages might be limited to those that are imported to the USA, but, the ones I have tried tell me that Spain is hog heaven -- these people know their pork. In the case of chistorra, it is a delicious blend of lean pork, pork fat, pork belly and seasoned with salt, pepper, paprika and garlic. While I'm serving it in this classic basque breakfast, chistorra is often fried or grilled, then either cut into bite-sized 2" pieces and served as a tapa, or, cut into 6"-8" lengths, wrapped in a very thin corn talo and eaten like a hot dog. Chistorra goes great with beer or wine!
This "happy meal" is one to make to your own liking!
1/2 pound chistorra sausage
into links. Using a chef's knife slice the links into 1/4" coins. Set aside.
~ Step 2. I like to use red-skinned potatoes and I leave the skins on.
4-5 medium-sized red-skinned potatos
into 3/4" coins. I like to have 6-8 of these hearty coins for every breakfast I am serving, and I get 3 coins from each medium-sized potato. Wait until you taste these!
Note: My potatoes are a cross between french fries and home fries. They have all the same taste and texture as French fries, but, are much quicker and much easier.
Fry until golden on both sides and cooked through, turning only once, about 5-6 minutes per side. Arrange potatoes in each of two 6"-round au gratin dishes. Set aside.
~ Step 5. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the sausage from the pan, dividing it equally between the two dishes, over the top of the potatoes. Return the skillet to the still hot stovetop over medium-high heat.
~ Step 6. Into the chistorra fat remaining in the bottom of the still hot skillet, crack
2-4 jumbo eggs, 1-2 eggs per serving, your choice
Note: I like my huevos rotos with one egg, my husband Joe likes his with two. No matter what, I always fry the eggs two at a time so they have plenty of room to spread out in the chistorra fat. After frying two, there will be plenty of spicy fat left in the skillet to fry two more!
Note: Trust me when I tell you, this meal cooks up so fast that neither the potatoes nor the chistorra have had time to cool down. Serve immediately and please refrain from adding any hot sauce until you've tasted your first forkful -- savor the flavor of the spicy chistorra!
Start that flow of liquid gold & toss things around a bit...
Special Equipment List: cutting board; chef's knife; 10" skillet; slotted spoon; spatula
"We are all in this food world together." ~ Melanie Preschutti
(Recipe, Commentary and Photos courtesy of Melanie's Kitchen/Copyright 2015)