Catalan scrambled eggs from Monika Linton’s brand new cookbook
Llorenç Petrás has a famous stall in the Boqueria market in Barcelona, where his fruits del bose, wild woodland produce, is a stunning sight. You have to go to the market early, though, if you want to see the scale of his treasure, as by the end of the day it will all have sold out.
We often use his book, La Millor Cuina dels Bolets, at home since it is full of ideas for wild mushrooms—Catalunya in autumn is a mushroom-picker’s paradise—and this colourful combination of squash, peppers and mushrooms is incredibly tasty. It is really more of a mix of vegetables with eggs than a creamy scrambled egg dish.
Llorenç adds snails to his remanat (the Catalan name for scrambled egg), which he collects and cooks himself; however, I admit I shy away from snails. If you do want to add them, you can buy them in tins or jars.
When ceps aren’t available, portobello mushrooms give an excellent flavour, though they give off a lot of moisture and darken the final dish. A combination of chestnut and chanterelles is very good too and keeps a more golden colour.
2 ripe tomatoes
150ml olive oil
200g potatoes, peeled and chopped, about 1cm—try to use a sweet, thin-skinned green pepper.
200g pumpkin or squash, peeled and chopped, about 1cm
1 green pepper, roughly chopped, about 1cm
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 slice of country or sourdough bread (about 100g), crusts cut off, cut into small squares
250g ceps, cleaned and cut into slices of about 4cm
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 clove of garlic, finely chopped
300g freshly cooked or jarred snails (optional)
Either grate the tomatoes, or, if you prefer, de-skin and de-seed them. Heat 4 tbsp of the oil in a deep frying pan and add the potatoes, pumpkin or squash and the green pepper. Season with a pinch of salt and sweat over a medium heat for 10-15 mins, until the potato is just tender and beginning to brown, then lift out and keep to one side. Wipe out the pan for later.
Heat 2 more tbsp of the oil in a small pan, put in the bread and fry until the cubes are nicely browned, to make croutons. Lift out and keep to one side. Heat a further 2 tbsp of oil in the pan, put in the ceps and briefly cook through.
Take off the heat and keep to one side. Return the deep frying pan to the heat with the rest of the oil, then add the onion, garlic, tomato, the snails if using, and a pinch of salt. Allow to sweat on a low heat for around 10 mins, until the onion is transparent.
Add the reserved potatoes, pumpkin or squash and peppers, together with the mushrooms, and heat everything through on a medium heat. Taste and season as necessary.
Meanwhile, in a bowl, beat the eggs very lightly for 2 secs and season with salt. Add to the pan, take it off the heat and stir gently, then put the pan back on the hob and for 1-2 mins. Keep taking it on and off the heat as you stir, to stop the eggs drying out and keep them creamy.
Sprinkle with the reserved croutons and serve immediately.
Recipe: Monika Linton, as featured in her new cook book, The True Food of Spain
Image: Pippa Drummond