Spanish Style Part 1: A Breakfast Inspired By The Canary Islands

Monday, April 19, 2010

Andrew, the kids and I recently went over to our friends Jeff & Damilya's to check out their new place and partake in an amazing brunch. Inspired by flavors of Spain vis-a-vis the Canary Islands, Jeff and Damilya put forth a truly inspiring menu for my favorite meal of the day. Bold flavors together with equally bold colors made for a memorable brunch that I can't wait to have a free weekend to do myself.

A combination of a few recipes from The Los Angeles Times and The New York Times together with some recipes of their own, Jeff and Damilya provided a wonderful culinary journey that took us through sweet and savory, velvety smooth to crunchy. I loved every single bite of everything, and they were kind enough to share with me (and you!) their recipes.

On the menu...

Light As Air Scrambled Eggs with Scallions and Romano Cheese

Sausage and Peppers with Vermouth

Papas Arrugatas - "Wrinkley Potatoes "

Mojo Verde and Mojo Colorado

Freshly Baked Bread


Mimosas and Coffee

Sadly, I was lame and forgot my camera so the shitty pictures taken from my Droid will have to do. Apologies.

The star of the show for me personally were the potatoes. A dish originally conceived by Canary Island locals with the bounty of New World potatoes brought through by Spanish explorers, the potatoes were boiled in clean sea water down until all the water evaporated, leaving a wonderful natural sea-salt crust around the perfectly softened potatoes. You can achieve the same result using tap water and a good amount of sea salt from your pantry:

"Wrinkley Potatoes" aka Canary Island Style Salted Potatoes
1 1/2 pounds small potatoes
1 tablespoon coarse salt
2 cups water

Place the potatoes in a wide pan with the salt and water. Bring to a boil and cook on a high heat until all the water has evaporated, about 20 minutes. The potatoes should be tender, coated with white salt and their skins slightly wrinkled. They can be reheated by adding a small quantity of water and allowing it to boil off.
If using very small new potatoes, cook them in the water just until tender when probed with a skewer. Drain off the excess water and return the potatoes to the heat to dry them.

Serve with mojo (recipes follow).

Mojo Verde aka "Green Sauce"
2 cloves garlic
1 jalapeño pepper, or to taste
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon oregano
2 tablespoons chopped parsley
1/2 cup loosely packed cilantro leaves
3 tablespoons olive oil
3 tablespoons wine vinegar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup water

Place all ingredients in a blender container and blend until smooth. Sauce keeps one week, refrigerated. Serve it at room temperature.

Mojo Colorado aka "Red Sauce"
3 tablespoons pimentón or paprika
1 fresh red chile, seeded and chopped, or cayenne to taste
3 cloves garlic
3 tablespoons olive oil
3 tablespoons wine vinegar
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup water

Place all of the ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth. If desired, thin with a little water. Sauce keeps one week, refrigerated. Serve it at room temperature.

Mojo is a sauce used in Spanish cuisine that is often used as a finisher much like pesto or a gremoulata is used in Italian cooking. It can be used quite literally on anything from potatoes to grilled meats (especially wonderful with a grilled skirt steak!) to even dipping for freshly baked bread. The recipes above can easily be doubled so make a big batch and use it throughout the week with the rest of your dishes.

In addition to the wonderful potatoes and mojo, Jeff made the most amazing take on sausage and peppers. By using vermouth, he created a wonderfully sweet flavor that complimented the sweet peppers and onions and paired perfectly with the leaner but still flavorful turkey sausages. This was a great dish that went beautifully with the eggs. And don't worry about the amount of vermouth you're using. As Jeff said, "you're doing this like risotto" so the alcohol is burning off as you add and leaves a wonderful concentrated sweet flavor.

Sausage and Peppers with Vermouth
1 lb Italian turkey sausage, cut into large chunks
1 medium red onion, sliced
1 small red bell pepper, seeds removed and sliced
1 small green bell pepper, seeds removed and sliced
olive oil
freshly ground black pepper
about 1 cup of sweet vermouth

Heat a couple of tablespoons of olive oil in a large pan. Add the sausage and onion together and begin to brown, cooking for about 5 minutes. Add the vermouth, about a 1/4 cup at a time to the sausage and onion, and continue to cook on medium-high heat until the vermouth is absorbed. Keep adding the vermouth as it gets absorbed until the amount is used up and the onions are thickened and a very thick sauce is starting to form. Add the bell peppers and season with salt and pepper to taste. Continue to cook until the peppers soften and are combined, about five minutes. Serve hot.

This recipe serves 4 but can easily be doubled.

Scrambled Eggs with Scallions and Romano
3-4 scallions, finely chopped
2 Tbsp butter
8 eggs
1/4 cup heavy cream (or half n half)
freshly ground black pepper
1/3 cup grated Romano cheese (can substitute Parmesano-Reggiano)

Heat the butter in a large non-stick skillet. Add the scallions and saute on medium-low heat, about 3 minutes, stirring occasionally.

While the scallions cook, combine the eggs and heavy cream in a large bowl and whisk together vigorously. The more you whisk, the more air you get into the eggs and that's what makes them fluffy when you cook them. Season with salt and pepper to taste and pour the eggs over the scallions. Using a spatula, gently move and stir the eggs around in the pan until they begin to set. Add the cheese and mix in. Serve immediately.

This recipe is also for 4 but can easily be doubled.

For more pictures and recipe of this brunch (we still have that freshly baked bread to discuss!), check out Part 2.


Chandra said...

Yum!!! I miss a good mojo criollo!!

Amanda Ebner said...

Looks completely delicious!