Or, for non Spanish speakers, scrambled eggs with black pudding and spring garlic. Just four basic ingredients and a simple dish, but something I really enjoy. As this dish only has four ingredients, and cheap ones at that, I recommend you look for some good quality local products. I have chosen products that are local to me, so let me run you through the ones that I have chosen:
Firstly let’s look at the ajos tiernos. These couldn’t be more local as they are from my own garden. I have mine ready to harvest and that was the main reason for me choosing today’s recipe. But just what are ajos tiernos?
Basically they are simply very young garlic plants before the garlic bulb or indeed the clove itself has started to form. I call them “spring garlic” simply because they remind me of spring onions and can be used in a similar way.
I have not been able to find any other translation anywhere. I have looked in many a dictionary, I have even tried the overrated Google Translator to no avail. A word of warning here to restaurant owners and language students….. don’t use Google Translator. To all Spanish chefs, I see that Google still has “kid” (baby goat) down as “niño” (child) and no, Anglo-Saxons do not eat roast children. I also promise all you students that a good language teacher can easily spot a poor Google translation!
Anyway, back to my coining the term spring garlic. Many words in our languages have existed for thousands of years, slowly being refined over time. Others are coined at some point in time. For example a “Drowned Mouse” (Nicholas Breton in “Cornu-copiæ” 1612) or to “Fence” as in to sell stolen property (Samuel Rid in his book “Martin Mark-All” 1610) to name but two. Could I have defined a new term here? Could this be my moment of fame and fortune? Will I go down in history as the inventor of spring garlic? I can see my tombstone now, “Lincoln Betteridge the man who coined Spring Garlic”!
Anyway, if you have your own garden or allotment and you want to give it a try, they are very easy to grow, just plant a whole head of garlic as is, without separating out the individual cloves. Leave it until you have a good growth of shoots to harvest, lift the whole head of garlic, clean and use. Alternatively, just go ahead and use spring onions instead!
As for the peppers, I chose Pimientos del Piquillo. These are typical Spanish peppers with a lovely rich flavour without being too spicy. The best ones are actually roasted over wood ashes to char the outer skin. The skin is then removed leaving the cooked flesh behind.
Any pepper can be used for the recipe, but pre-roasted varieties are to be preferred as they can be added at the end of the recipe without any further cooking. I am not sure of their availability outside of Spain, but with globalisation I guess they can be found. I have checked and they are available on-line, for example in Amazon.
If you are going to buy the Piquillo peppers I would encourage you to buy the ones from Navarre in Spain. Beware though that many inferior products are being imported into Europe that are grown in places like China or Peru. If you feel like me, that we need to support our local farmers, check the label carefully. Many peppers that at first glance are from Navarre in Spain, are actually packaged in Spain but grown elsewhere. Look at the small print and choose those that are grown in Spain.
With regards to the “morcilla” or black pudding, I must again express a preference for Spanish products. Although I actually bought it from the local butcher’s not 50 yards from where I live (Thanks Pili, great black pudding!), the type of pudding is like that produced in the Spanish province of Burgos, some 300 km from here.
The difference between a Burgos black pudding and that which is often found outside of Spain is that the Burgos variety has rice, as opposed to oatmeal and has a spicier flavour. I am told that it is considered to be one of the best black puddings in the world. Nevertheless, if you have a good local supplier with fresh, tasty black puddings, why go elsewhere?
So, those are the ingredients covered, now onto the recipe that really is as simple as it gets. Although peeling and chopping a bunch of spring garlic doesn’t take too long, I would recommend preparing everything beforehand and just frying up at the last minute. It works well as a starter or it can be used as a smaller nibble as part of a larger or more formal meal. Just serve individual small portions in little earthenware dishes.
Revuelto de Morcilla y Ajos Tiernos
Ingredients (2 people):
1 Bunch Spring garlic
6 Pimientos de piquillo
200g Black pudding
Clean and finely chop the spring garlic.
Cut the peppers in julienne.
Peel the black pudding and roughly chop.
Beat the eggs. Add a pinch of salt per egg.
Gently fry the spring garlic in olive oil with a light sprinkling of salt.
When just starting to soften add in the black pudding and again season lightly.
When the black pudding is cooked add in the peppers and fry a couple of minutes to heat through.
Add in the eggs and mix until just cooked. If you leave it too long the scrambled eggs will be too dry. If the pan is hot enough, you can take it off the hob and the eggs can even be cooked in the residual heat.
A simple, cheap, quick, one-pan dish. What more could one want? As always I hope you enjoy this week’s dish. Please feel free to leave any comments, questions or suggestions in the comments section of the article.
tsp – Teaspoon – 5ml
tbsp – Tablespoon – 15ml
2016 Lincoln W. Betteridge