Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Fried Potatoes of My Dreams

A theme quickly emerged during my Spanish adventure and a not unpleasant one. Everything was fried. With very little effort, I had something fried every day, but only once did I have fried potatoes (well, twice when you count my return visit the next day).

And they were awesome.

Fried potatoes with eggs and chorizo. It sounds like breakfast, but it was actually dinner at a smoky bar. K and I stood for a full ten minutes watching the kitchen in action. We watched not because we wanted to, but because we couldn't figure out how to order and get a table. So we watched. And saw many dishes of papas con huevos appear and then disappear as people took them to their tables. We finally placed our own order using a combination of popularity test and whatever looked yummy. We asked some nearby diners what they were eating and decided upon papas con huevos, fried eggplant with molasses, and since we liked the look of it, a bacalao omelette (you didn't think I'd abandoned bacalao, did you?).

(NOTE: We knew we wanted eggplant, but couldn't find it on the menu (our vocabulary being rather limited). So we gestured and attempted to describe a round purple fruit to a very bewildered couple who finally made sense of our gesticulating. And yet, after all that work I've since forgotten the word for eggplant.)

But first, the potatoes, which I'll be the first to admit are not my favorite starch in the world, except for at this little cafe in Madrid, where they became my favorite starch in the world. When deep fried, the potato slices were just thick enough to be soft in the center while maintaining a super duper crispy exterior. Hit with some salt, they were so good that I walked down the street the next day with a batch as a post-dinner snack. On top of the potatoes, a the fried egg, except that it wasn't really fried, but rather poached in oil. The effect is a silky egg that you break over the potatoes, which amazingly stay crunchy, and as a topper, bits of chorizo (not raspberries as the photos may appear). Yummy!

Yes, we ate other food too. The fried eggplant was ethereal and had a melting quality which would have been spectacular had I not been so mesmerized by the
papas con huevos. I found the molasses dip a bit sweet, so ended up ditching it in favor of having eggplant fries.

As for the
balcalao omelette? We'd seen some crispy fritters at another patron's table, and they told it was the balcalao omelette, but when the omelette arrived, it looked completely different. A case of mistaken identity. The omelette was watery and harmless, but really nothing compared to the potatoes and eggs. I miss potatoes and eggs.


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