This image courtesy of Penny De Los Santos
This is a typical way of serving fried eggs, the Basque equivalent of what in diner parlance would be two eggs sunny-side up over fries, wreck ’em! Much fuss is often made over the best way to cook French fries, but Basque fries are their own thing. They are golden and crispy on the outside, extremely tender on the inside, and more shards than sticks. The best are boiled first and then fried in olive oil. My grandmother Victoria made them this way, too, so eating fries in the Basque Country carries a remarkable nostalgia for me. As I eat them, I always remember how the two of us would fry potatoes and then eggs from her hens and eat them together as a late-night snack.
Recipe CourseMain Course, Snack
MealBreakfast, Brunch, Snack
- Kosher salt
- 2 russet potatoes
- Extra-virgin olive oil, for frying
- 3 ounces ounces dry-cured chorizo, casing removed and thinly sliced
- 4 eggs, at room temperature
Bring a large saucepan filled with water to a boil and season it with plenty of salt. Line a baking sheet with a kitchen towel.
While the water is heating, peel the potatoes, cut them in half lengthwise and then cut each half into roughly wedge-shaped pieces about ¼ inch thick. Add the potatoes to the boiling water, turn down the heat to a simmer, and cook for 3 to 6 minutes, until just cooked but still firm. Drain well and scatter the pieces over the towel-lined pan to cool and dry.
Fill a wide, deep sauté pan about one-third full with oil and place over medium heat. When the oil is hot, working in batches, scatter the potatoes in the oil so they are mostly submerged and fry for about 2 to 3 minutes, until golden brown, adding more oil as needed. Using a slotted spoon, lift out the potatoes and divide them among 2 to 4 plates, then season with salt.
When all of the potatoes are fried, pour off the oil into a heatproof dish, leaving a layer about ¼ inch deep in the pan, and return the pan to the stove top. Working quickly, heat the pan over medium-low heat, add the chorizo, and let it weep into the oil for about 30 seconds. Using the slotted spoon, lift the chorizo out of the oil, shaking off the excess oil into the pan, and scatter it over the potatoes, dividing it evenly.
Raise the heat to medium. Crack the eggs into the pan two at a time and fry them in the chorizo-infused oil. (To achieve the lacy golden edges that are a Basque signature, use the slotted spoon to poke at and perforate the egg whites to create air bubbles.)
Drape the eggs over the chorizo-topped potatoes. Just before serving, use scissors to cut open the yolks, or let the diners cut them open themselves. Serve immediately.
Reprinted with permission from The Basque Book by Alexandra Raij with Eder Montero and Rebecca Flint Marx, copyright 2016, published by Ten Speed Press, an imprint of Penguin Random House LLC. Photographs copyright 2016 by Penny De Los Santos.
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