In 2008, while on a class trip to Extremadura, in the westernmost region of Spain, I tried one of the area’s specialities: migas*. Traditionally made of stale bread, garlic and olive oil (the most basic ingredients available to the shepherds out in the fields), migas, which means crumbs in Spanish, are the definition of rustic, country food.
At that dinner, I originally thought that the waiter called the dish hormigas, meaning ants, and was therefore extremely apprehensive about my dinner. Almost four years later, I don’t remember exactly what those migas tasted like, but I do remember being interested enough to become slightly obsessed with making them myself.
Sadly, those dreams took until now to actually materialize. Last week, faced with an intense craving for something, anything Spanish (usually, I quell these cravings by dining on Manchego and Rioja … ), I finally got my act together. Bread was torn, chorizo was diced, garlic was sliced and my minimal effort was rewarded with a dish that is so quintessentially español, I almost ate the whole thing in one sitting.
Thankfully I didn’t, and therefore was able to discover this weekend that possibly the best hangover-killing
breakfast lunch in the world is a plateful of reheated migas topped with a perfectly fried egg. Seriously. Better than a bacon-egg-and-cheese. Tell me that’s not life changing.
*Spanish migas are quite different from Tex-Mex migas, which are made with scrambled eggs and cooked corn tortillas, with all the regular fixins’: diced onions, peppers, tomatoes, cheese, refried beans, etc. Quite different, though probably equally delicious. I’m very interested to know if the two dishes are linked at all.
Adapted from In Praise of Sardines
– 2 cloves garlic, sliced thinly
– 1 poblano chile, seeded and diced
– 4 ounces chorizo, diced
– 1 demi-baguette, torn into 1/2-inch cubes
– 1 teaspoon paprika
– 1/2 teaspoon chile powder (I used the Valle del Sol kind from Whole Foods)
– 1/4 teaspoon cayenne
– salt and pepper, to taste
1) Coat the bottom of a 10-inch skillet over medium-low heat. Cook garlic until golden, then set aside. Turn up the heat to medium-high and cook the peppers until slightly charred, then set aside. Lower the heat back to medium-low and add the chorizo, stirring, until lightly browned, then remove to plate.
2) Toss the bread cubes in the fat from the chorizo and the olive oil in the pan. Evenly splash about 1/4 cup of water over the bread. Using a spoon to break up the bread cubes somewhat, cook until they start to crisp up and brown, about 10 minutes. Add oil if the bread looks dry.
3) Add the paprika, chili powder and cayenne and cook for a minute or two, then toss back in all of the garlic, peppers and meat. Stir and cook for a few minutes more, then serve. Top with a fried egg if you’re feeling extra fancy and/or hungover.