I love breakfast. For that reason, I’ll never make a perfect Catalan. I don’t love fuet. I’m not a fan of a morning sandwich, except for the kind you find at the delis in New York. I will admit to gobbling down a half a loaf of pa amb tomaquet–that famous Catalan breakfast (or anytime) item made by spreading tomato pulp, olive oil, and salt on a soft loaf of good bread—before snowboarding or when the cupboards are growing bare, but I’ll never love it like I love a good savory egg dish. This morning, I collected a variety of foods in the refrigerator that needed immediate attention: the swiss chard that was supposed to become the side dish to a Chinese fish dish, several slightly wrinkled cherry tomatoes, half a forlorn onion. Out of desperation and hunger, It became this.
Swiss Chard Strata
Here, we often use what are called cintas in place of normal bacon. They are small, pre-sliced pieces of pancetta that are smoky and perfect for an egg dish like this one. You can use pancetta, ham, or even American-style bacon as a substitute, if need be. Everything else should be easily accessible in your local market. Continue reading
This dish was born from another dish that I made with my Peruvian friend Cristine called Pastel de Papa, a Peruvian gratin of sorts made with aniseed. I used the leftovers as the base for this breakfast the next morning. I’ve adapted the recipe below so you can make it without going to the lengths of first making the pastel, but I will include the recipe for the pastel in a separate post as well in case you want to try it.
- 2 potatoes, thinly sliced
- 1 teaspoon aniseed
- 4 slices queso fresco
- 2 slices edam cheese
- 2 eggs
- 1 onion
- 3 slices day old French bread
- 2 cloves garlic, crushed
- handful basil, sliced
- 1 teaspoon butter
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 teaspoon salt
Preheat the oven to 250 degrees while preparing your ingredients.
For the croutons
Slide the bread into rough cubes. Heat the butter and the olive oil in a pan over medium heat. Add the garlic and stir to keep from burning. Add 1/4 teaspoon of the salt. Reduce the heat to medium low and cook the croutons, stirring regularly to keep them from burning. Cook 5 minutes or until the bread is evenly golden. Set aside to cool.
For the onions
In a separate pan, caramelize the onion over low heat, adding a pinch of salt, and the oregano. Stir occasionally until golden brown.
For the potatoes
Place the oven-safe pan, layer the potatoes with the edam cheese and queso fresco and the aniseed, top with foil and bake in the oven for 30 minutes or until cooked through. Remove from the oven and follow steps below.
For the final dish
To the potatoes, add the croutons, then layer with the onions. Add the sliced basil, and top with two eggs and salt. Return pan to the oven and cook for 6 minutes or until the eggs are done.
Remove pan from the oven and add freshly ground black pepper and a drizzle of olive oil before serving.