MIGAS (Spanish “crumbs,” for four)
“…invented by the shepherds who still roam the plains of Castile with their flocks, making good use of less-than-fresh bread for a rustic meal cooked over an open fire.”
1 pound day-old country bread, crusts removed (the bread used for migas shouldn’t be fresh, but not quite hard either – somewhere in between)
fine sea salt
10 tablespoons olive oil
8 cloves garlic, unpeeled
7 ounces pancetta or bacon, cut into ½ inch dice
1 red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
1 teaspoon pimenton (Spanish smoked pepper)
4 large eggs
1.The day before, break the bread with your fingers into a roughly shaped dice of ½ to 1 scant inch and spread on a tray. Sprinkle a little salted water over, cover with a kitchen towel and let stand overnight.
2. In a large, wide frying pan, heat 2 tablespoons of the oil over high heat. Add the unpeeled garlic cloves and the pancetta and fry until the pancetta is crisp and browned, about 2 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer to a bowl. Add the bell pepper to the pan and fry until beginning to blister, about 2 minutes. Transfer to the bowl with the garlic and pancetta.
3. Add 6 tablespoons olive oil to the pan. Have ready 1 cup water. When the oil is hot, add the bread pieces, tossing them quickly in the oil and using your fingers to sprinkle them with water from time to time. The aim is to ensure that the migas achieve a uniform golden brown without burning or drying excessively. Finally, return the garlic, pancetta and bell pepper to the pan and season with ½ teaspoon salt and the pimenton. Toss everything together until combined, 1 to 2 minutes. Turn out onto a serving platter.
4. In a small nonstick frying pan, heat the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil over medium heat. Fry the eggs one by one until cooked to your liking. Serve the migas with the fried eggs on top.
from Paul Richardson, Rustic Spanish (Williams Sonoma)