Saturday, February 7, 2015

FLAMENCO EGGS—THE SPANISH CHAKCHOUKA

Huevos a la flamenca--flamenco eggs.
The world’s favorite egg dish these days seems to be chakchouka, a North African way of cooking eggs in a spicy tomato sauce. It reminds me a lot of a Spanish dish—huevos a la flamenca—flamenco eggs, eggs baked in tomato sauce.

Flamenco eggs, a Sevilla specialty, is a flouncy variation of huevos al plato—eggs on the plate with fried potatoes, chorizo and ham. Flamenco eggs used to appear on restaurant menus and at tapa bars everywhere in Andalusia. It was usually served as a starter or else a light lunch or supper dish. Never for breakfast!

A dear friend of mine, Annie, a tiny slip of a woman, used to amaze the waiters at our favorite venta (rustic country restaurant). She would start her meal with a plate of fried boquerones (fresh anchovies), move on to a starter of huevos a la flamenca, then go through a whole leg of baby lamb and, usually, finish with the house-made flan! That was to last her until her next trip to Spain.

I’m not sure why huevos a la flamenca have mostly disappeared from restaurant menus. Perhaps they are too ordinary, old-fashioned, in this day of chef-inspired creative cuisine. But they make a comforting, satisfying family meal.


Ready for the oven--eggs on top of tomato sauce.
The usual preparation is one or two eggs per person, baked in individual cazuelitas, earthenware ramekins, with tomato sauce, peas, chorizo, ham and strips of roasted red pepper. Some variations call for diced fried potatoes as well, mixed with the tomato sauce. Should you prefer a vegetarian version, just omit the chorizo and ham and substitute sliced sauteed mushrooms and quartered artichoke hearts.

Like a kick of chile heat? Use a little cayenne in the tomato sauce or just sprinkle hot pimentón on top of the eggs.

If preferred, the eggs can all be baked in one pan, such as a heavy, oven-proof skillet. It’s even possible to cook them on top of the stove, covering the pan until whites are set.

Serve the eggs with chunks of bread, fried bread or toast that’s been drizzled with good olive oil. No reason you can't serve them for Sunday brunch!

You need a thick tomato sauce for the bottom of the cazuelita. Make it with fresh or canned tomatoes (recipes here or here)  or use canned tomate frito or even a jar of your favorite marinera sauce.

Flamenco eggs with ham, chorizo, peas, asparagus.

Baked Eggs Flamenco
Huevos a la Flamenca

Serves 4.

Olive oil
1 cup thick tomato sauce (canned or freshly made)
4-8 eggs
4 slices chorizo sausage, cut in half
1 ounce sliced serrano ham
¼ cup cooked peas
8 cooked asparagus tips
Salt and pepper
Pimentón (paprika)
1 tablespoon chopped parsley
8 strips roasted red pepper


Preheat oven to 375ºF/190ºC.

Drizzle oil in four 6-inch cazuelas or ovenproof ramekins. Divide the tomato sauce between them. Make indentations in the sauce.

Break 1 or 2 eggs into each cazuela. Put 2 halves of chorizo on either side of the eggs. Tuck slices of ham into the sauce. Sprinkle with peas. Arrange 2 asparagus tips in each cazuela. Sprinkle each with salt and pepper, a pinch of pimentón and parsley. Cross 2 strips of pimiento on top of each. Drizzle a little oil over the tops of the eggs.

Bake until whites are set, but yolks still runny. This takes about 12 minutes in an earthenware cazuela. The eggs will continue to cook after removing from oven, so take them out when whites are just barely set.


4 comments:

  1. Love baked eggs! This is such a perfect dish for me to make for dinner tonight - love how easy and flavoursome it is... and how I have all the ingredients on hand!

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    1. Thalia: Glad you like the recipe. You're like me--prefer eggs for dinner, rarely for breakfast.

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  2. This is one of my favorite dishes. It used to be common in Spanish restaurants years ago, but is now hard to find. (Mmmmm. I can be at your place in twenty minutes!)

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    1. Lenox: You're so right, huevos a la flamenca seems to have dropped off menus. Your blog is an interesting potpourri of Spanish news and views. Is/was cuscus ever a part of traditional cooking in your neck of the woods?

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