Fácil es mejor

Last summer, the food trend seemed to Spain – Spanish food hit Gourmet magazine (RIP), the Food Network, food blogs the internet over, you name it.  Now I wonder if it really was in, or I was searching desperately for traces of Spain’s food heritage here in the US.  I had just gotten back from a study abroad in Seville and I was in the throes of cultural readjustment – throwing my own Spanish food party helped, but I was still on the lookout for reasons to brag about Spain that didn’t make me look like a tool caught up in my own personal experiences (which I was), but instead a finger-on-the-pulse, hip foodie.

I’ve gotten over that particular obsession, though every time I see a hint of Spanish food culture, I still get the warm fuzzies, though

Illegally delicious.

I’ve done better at keeping them on the downlow.  Some examples: finding membrillo at Whole Foods, finding real, hard cured Spanish chorizo at DeLaurenti’s Deli at Pike Place Market, drinking cheap bottles of Rioja instead of studying for finals… These are manageable ways to work Spain into my diet without smuggling

cured ham in my suitcase or begging friends abroad to bring me Lemon Fanta.  Well, I’ve done those things, too.

But anyways.  When I was in Spain, I managed to pick up a few recipes.  Tortilla española, garbanzos, and huevo al plato.


Huevo al plato is literally an egg on a plate.  My host father would make it for me for lunch in the wintertime, cooked in a cazuela, or indestructible glazed terra cotta bowl/plate.  These things happily troop from on top of the stove burner, into the oven, then into the dish washer afterwards.  No problem.  Lucky me got two of them as a birthday gift a few days before I left Seville.

I used to think that a huevo al plato was this specific dish that Jairo would plunk down on the table in front of me with fresh bread, as I toasted my feet on the space heater and wished for the rain to stop so I could get to class dry.  But Doña Margarita of my Spanish cookbook has informed me that in fact huevo al plato refers to the way it’s served – an individual egg in a cazuela.  This now seems very, very obvious to me.  But I share my shortcomings with you so that you don’t feel alone when those kitchen duh moments trickle in shamefully.  If you poke around on the internet, cookbooks, or Spain, you’ll find lots of variations on this theme, especially in tapas restaurants.

You won’t find a huevo al plato in Gourmet magazine (if it were still running) or as the main dish of a ritzy chef, but I love it because it’s easy.  Ridiculously so.  You don’t need a cazuela to make it – just use a small frying pan and slide the mess onto a normal plate and dig on in.

Jairo’s Easy  Peasy Huevo al Plato

This is an easy dish to switch between vegetarian and nonveg, which I actually did for this photo shoot.  I was cooking for Michelle and Gabrielle, and since Michelle had given up meat for Lent, I was the only one eating the full fledged version featuring chorizo.

I'm a multitasker at heart - vegetarian huevo, nonveg huevo, and the cooling crust for a lemon meringue pie.

I love chorizo.  If you have to Spanish version, it’s smoky and full flavored without too much heat, granting great depth to soups and stews.  I ended up using a Mexican version that I could pick up easily at the local grocery store – not the same at all, but still delicious and a good substitute.  The Mexican chorizo I picked up was soft and more like what I think of as an uncooked sobrasada, but that’s because I haven’t been lucky enough to eat much authentic Mexican food.  So. Chorizo lecture over, on to the recipe.

You knew olive oil was going to be involved. I swear they have olive oil instead of blood in their veins. Not that I object.

Olive oil

3 Tbsp chopped green bell pepper

3 Tbsp chopped onion

2-3 Tbsp chopped chorizo

4 oz tomato sauce

1 egg

Heat a little bit of olive oil (a thin thin layer on the pan) in a cazuela or frying pan on medium high to high heat and saute the peppers and onions.  The measurements I gave are very approximate, because I do it from sight.  What you really want is a sparse layer of vegetables, equal amounts onion and pepper.  See the picture below.  When the onion is starting to turn translucent, add in the chorizo if desired.

After the chorizo has heated through (or cooked, depending on your chorizo), cover the contents of your plate with tomato sauce – literally just enough to cover.

The veggie version, just after tomato saucing.

Let the tomato sauce heat through as well, then break an egg over the top and cover.   Cook for 30 seconds to a minute on high heat, or however long it takes for the white to just set.  Pull it off the burner (carefully!  Hot!!), put it on a sturdy plate, and eat immediately with fresh bread.  You can stir the egg in to cook it, or mop up the yolk before starting in on the rest of the dish – either way, it’s delicious!  And easy!

There's chorizo in there for the lucky eater. That would be me.


1 Response to “Fácil es mejor”

  1. 1 Gabrielle December 10, 2012 at 8:16 am

    I just had a huge craving for egg on a plate…

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Hey, I'm Desa. I've been bouncing between the Pacific Northwest and Sevilla, Spain in the last few years and from tiny apartment to tiny apartment. I cook mainly for one, which means some potentially boring meals, but here I'll be sharing the food that excites me. Feel free to offer suggestions, commiseration, or desires. And thanks for coming by!


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