Recipe for traditional Spanish migas

 

Visiting Spain: Recipe for traditional Spanish migas

Roaming from place to place to tend their flock, Spanish shepherds created a tasty inexpensive dish prepared over an open fire in a single pan. The basic ingredient was easy to find – stale bread.

Nothing went to waste in the humble life of a shepherd and the dish known as “migas” was comforting, filling and simple to prepare. Today, migas – which literally means “bread crumbs” –  is still popular in Spain, served in homes, bars, hotels and fancy restaurants.

The first time I tasted  migas was as an appetizer at Parador de Jarandilla de la Vera. My serving was topped with a fried egg and generously sprinkled with the famed Extremadura paprika. Delicious,

A friend got a free helping of migas when he ordered a beer in a Spanish bar in Cáceres. That’s something many drinking spots do – serve a complimentary savory along with a drink.

Probably increases the thirst of the drinker but also it is done, I think, because Spanish folks are very hospitable.

MIGAS

1 loaf day-old French or Italian bread

6 ounces water

2 cloves garlic, peeled

3 tablespoons virgin olive oil

2 teaspoons Spanish smoked paprika or to taste

Salt to taste

2 tablespoons minced onion

2 tablespoons finely diced slab bacon

3 tablespoons diced sweet chorizo or minced cured ham

Remove crusts and cut stale bread into cubes, place in bowl. Sprinkle water over bread, using more water if necessary until bread is moistened but not soaking wet. Cover and allow to sit for about a half hour (some cooks cover it with a clean dish towel and let it sit overnight).

Fry bacon and chorizo, drain the meat and set aside. Add olive oil to meat juices in the skillet and fry garlic cloves, pressing with the back of a wooden spoon. Remove garlic. Fry onion until golden brown. Place bread into the frying pan, stirring constantly with a large wooden spoon or spatula. Break bread into smaller pieces as it fries. Add cooked meat. Sprinkle with paprika and salt. Cook until bread clumps into small balls that are toasted on the outside and soft inside. Serves four.

Some cooks add fried eggs atop the migas. Some add green or red peppers, olives or salt pork. Each region and even each family seems to have developed a special recipe for their own tasty migas.

-Story and Photo by Jackie Sheckler Finch

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