There’s a tradition in nearly every culture I can think of that transforms stale bread into something magical. I had a rock-hard baguette that was leftover from Saturday that could have subbed as a hockey puck and still come out unscathed. A few tablespoons cold water and a clean kitchen towel did wonders; minutes later, dinner was ready.
In Spain and Portugal, migas consists of nothing more than rough cubes of day-old bread fried in olive oil until crisp, spiked with chorizo sausage, garlic and pimentón. Occasionally, large, coarse breadcrumbs are used in place of the bread but the principle is the same. It’s a dish where you literally make “something out of nothing”.
You can serve migas as a tapa or a snack, with a glass of white wine or a mug of beer. Or, pair it with greens and have it for brunch, as an appetizer course or a light dinner. Some people like to add eggs and cheese, and cook everything together so that it’s all one scrambled mess. I prefer a deconstructed version, where the eggs and bread are prepared separately.
Whichever way you make it, it’s delicious.
Migas con Huevos (“Fried Bread, with Chorizo Sausage, Creamy Scrambled Eggs and Shishito Peppers”)
For this recipe, you will need a loaf of day-old bread. You can make it with fresh bread if you prefer, but the texture will be different. If the bread is too dry, place in a bowl and moisten with 2-3 tablespoons cold water. Cover the bowl with a clean towel and set aside for 30 minutes. Break apart the loaf and tear into rough chunks or cubes, then proceed as detailed below.
If you don’t have shishito peppers, green bell pepper is okay as a substitute. Shishito peppers are small, thin green peppers that look similar to green chile peppers but are instead sweet, with a touch of heat.
3 tablespoons half-and-half or light cream
freshly milled black pepper
1/4 cup olive oil
2 cups stale bread, torn into bite-sized chunks or cut into cubes
pimentón (“Spanish paprika”)
2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
2 shishito peppers, trimmed, seeded and deveined, thinly sliced
1/4 chorizo sausage, thinly sliced
Crack open the eggs into a bowl. Add the half-and-half or light cream, along with a pinch of sea salt and black pepper. Lightly beat the eggs with a fork or a whisk until the eggs well-blended. Set aside.
Warm olive oil in a skillet over medium heat until oil is shimmering. Working in batches, add the bread cubes and fry until the cubes become golden-brown and crisp, about 2-3 minutes. Stir frequently, to avoid having the cubes soak up too much oil. When the cubes are done, remove the bread from the skillet with a slotted spoon and place on paper towel-lined plates to drain. Lightly sprinkle the fried bread cubes with a pinch of sea salt, black pepper and pimentón.
In the same skillet, add the garlic. Fry over medium heat until the garlic becomes a pale gold, about 1 minute. Add the shishito peppers and sauté until the peppers are wilted, about 1-2 minutes. Add the chorizo to the pan. Cook until the chorizo has warmed through, about 4-5 minutes. Remove from heat, then combine with the crisped bread cubes. Taste once more for salt, although you shouldn’t need much.
Drain off all but 2 tablespoons olive oil. Warm the remaining olive oil in the skillet over medium heat. When the oil is hot enough (you can test by adding a small teaspoonful of beaten egg to the pan; if it’s hot enough, the egg will immediately set and cook), add the egg mixture. I prefer my eggs on the runny/creamy side, but other people may feel differently. Once the eggs have begun to stick to the pan (anywhere from 20 to 30 seconds), begin stirring in order to break up the curds. Cook, stirring constantly, or until the eggs have set and are still runny or creamy, about 2-3 minutes. Remove the pan from heat.
Spoon the scrambled eggs onto warmed serving plates or shallow bowls. Spoon the migas alongside the eggs. Serve at once.
This recipe is sized for 2-3 people.
Time: One hour, including prep.