Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Huevos a la Flamenca

Some of my closest friends know that TJ Maxx is my favorite store. I found a beautiful casserole handmade in Poland for $14! I don't know why exactly, but it makes me happy to look at it. It is perfect for a dish from Spain called Huevos a la Flamenca. It is different from Huevos Rancheros in that the tomato mixture is smooth, the eggs are baked not poached or fried, and it is customarily made with peas and jamon and/or chorizo.

I have been wanting to try Jamon Iberica or Jamon Serrano. They are cured hams from Spain similar to Prociutto Ham from Italy. The Jamon Iberica is the most expensive. The pigs are a special breed called Iberian, and they are given a special diet that includes acorns. I couldn't find this kind of ham, and even if I could, I couldn't afford it. I did find the Jamon Serrano for about $20/pound! I asked for $4 worth which is actually a good amount. I have plenty leftover to make this for my sister when she comes to visit.

Some of the other ingredients include Manchego cheese which is made in the La Mancha region of Spain. It is fairly expensive here in our town. I asked for $4 worth which was plenty, and again, I have enough for my sister when she gets in town. It is a yummy cheese, and you could eat it with the jamon and some crackers for a nice snack.
I found a video on Youtube with a guy making Huevos a la Flamenca. He made it very simply using Tomate Frito which is made with fried tomatoes that have been strained. I couldn't find it, but I did find a product from Italy that is similar. You could make your own sauce with roasted tomatoes and a blender, or you can just use tomato paste or tomato sauce.

I found some pork chorizo. If you decide to use chorizo, don't read the ingredients. Just don't.
Whenever I hear the word chorizo, I think of a play I was in. I think it was called the Marvelous Playbill. David Velasco, who was actually from Spain, was the lead. I can hardly remember the storyline (early Alzheimers?), but the setting was in Spain a couple of centuries ago. One of the characters had a one liner where he said "chorizo", and it got a few laughs from the audience.
The Jamon Serrano is much tastier after it has been fried kind of like bacon. I thought I would like it raw, but I couldn't palate the flavor. Maybe I just haven't developed a taste for it. I would like to try Jamon Iberica someday. When the Jamon Serrano is nice a crispy, it is like a sophisticated bacon. It is smoother and has a different flavor. I recommend cooking the chorizo very, very well. Very well. When you first start frying it, it doesn't smell very good. Just give it a chance. It really adds to the flavor of the dish.
Be very careful not to overcook the eggs. You want the yolks to be runny. About 12 minutes in a 375 degree oven is about all you'll need. I overcooked this batch a little. It was still good though. When you plate it, make sure you put a little bit of everything on the plate. I grated the manchego over the entire casserole when it came out of the oven, and then I added even more after I plated it. Serve with bread. I used a French baguette. Your kitchen will smell like a gourmet restaurant if you make this. It is totally worth it.

I love nice hot coffee when I have eggs. If you had this as a dinner entree, you could serve it with a white wine or even a red wine. My favorite coffee is Ruta Maya from Chiapas, Mexico. My sister used to live in Hyde Park in Austin right next to an organic supermarket. They carried this coffee, and the first time I tried it, I thought,"this is the best coffee ever!" I was excited when Puddleglum found it at our local grocery store. It is distributed out of Austin.

Puddleglum's Huevos a la Flameca

several strips Jamon Serrano (can substitute 2-3 strips bacon)
5 TBSP chorizo (can substitute sausage)
1 TBSP olive oil
1/4 onion, finely chopped
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp oregano
1 cup Tomate Frito (or strained tomatoes, pureed tomatoes, sauce, or thinned paste)
1 TBSP Alessi roasted red pepper, chopped
3-4 eggs
2 TBSP peas
manchego cheese

Preheat oven to 400deg F. Cook the Jamon Serrano and the chorizo in their own saute pans until the jamon is crispy and the chorizo is very well done. Place the oil, onion, garlic, and spices in a large saute pan. Saute until the onions just start to soften. Pour in the Tomate Frito or whatever tomato mixture you have (in my case the Pomi Strained Tomatoes). Cook until the mixture has been bubbly for several minutes stirring constantly. Add your roated red peppers at the end. Pour the tomato mixture into a shallow baking dish. Break your eggs carefully on top of the tomato mixture. Place your cooked jamon, chorizo, and peas in any way you like. Bake for about 14 minutes until the whites are cooked but the yolks are runny. Generously sprinkle with manchego cheese. Serve with good bread and nice hot coffee.

¡Buen provecho!


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