Eggs and I have a strange relationship; growing up, I used to eat them nearly every weekend, usually slathered in…maple syrup. Why? I have no idea. And then, when I was eleven or so, I decided that I in fact did not like eggs (save for the occasional egg salad) and eschewed scrambles and the like for many, many years, and to this day I can’t eat omlettes and only sometimes can handle fritattas. I’m pretty sure it has to do with the texture of cooked, beaten egg–I can’t explain it, but the mouthfeel always strikes me as somewhat off, perhaps in part due to using too many yolks or something.
Even more bizarre is my love of poached eggs, as I know more who cringe their noses at the thought of runny yolks than join me in praising their creaminess, but that’s how the egg cracks, I suppose. What inspired my love of poached eggs was a classic Spanish garlic soup that consisted of broth, paprika, lots of garlic, sherry vinegar, and pieces of bread–the eggs are place on top of the soup, and the wholes mess of elements combine beautifully as the runny yolk mixes in with the broth, and the pieces of bread absorb it all. It’s utterly heavenly, and not at all heavy–perfect for a simple dinner on a cool night.
Because I cannot leave well enough alone and had just seen the No Reservations episode focusing on Spain, however, I got it into my head that if I condensed the flavors of the soup (minus the bread and egg of course) and made a roasted garlic vinaigrette, it could be a delicious new tapa based on mostly easy-to-find ingredients that would taste really good when you sopped up the sauce and yolk with crusty bread. When L came over for Barcelona/tapas night, I made her and Michael serve as taste-testers. I’m happy to report that the only issue we had was running out of bread to get the last of the garlicky, eggy goodness.
Here’s how to make it. You’ll need:
Serves 2-3 as part of a tapas meal, and can be increased if being used as a total meal
- 1 head of garlic, roasted (roast with a little olive oil inside a foil packet in an oven pre-heated to 400 degrees for an hour until tender)
- 2 teaspoons each Spanish and smoked paprika (ideal, but use what you have on hand. If you want more heat, add a pinch of red pepper flakes instead)
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- Sherry or white balsamic vinegar, about 1/3 cup
- 2/3 cup olive oil
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 1-2 eggs per person
You have the option to either hand-whisk this (shown above) or use a blender or food processor to make it a smoother dressing. To hand-whisk: squeeze out the garlic from its paper into a medium sized bowl, add the paprika and cumin and whisk to combine. Add sherry vinegar (I like to use a 1:2 ratio of vinegar to oil; adjust to your own tastes) and whisk some more, and then finally whisk in the olive oil and season with salt and pepper to taste. Meanwhile, bring a saucepan of water to boil, and plunge eggs (I do one at a time) and cook for 3-4 minutes. Remove from water, trim edges (if desired) and place into serving bowl as complete. Dress eggs as desired, and use crusty bread to sop up the remaining runny goodness.
To make in a blender/food processor: add in first four ingredients and set to puree. Drizzle in oil from the top, then add salt and pepper to taste.