At some point during the bustle of yesterday (between my first novice rowing outing and our formal Matriculation Dinner, I was fairly busy), I realized that I had eaten the last of my cucumber for lunch that day, I had almost no celery left, no cooked rice or lentils, and I just generally had “run out” of things to eat besides Moroccan-ish chicken stew. While that is delicious, I didn’t want to eat it for lunch and dinner two days in a row.
I contemplated going to Hall for dinner both nights, but realized I was looking at this the wrong way. In fact, I have a lot of food, including perishables that I need to eat! I just hadn’t properly considered how to make them into a quick and easy meal. Scrounging around in the fridge and my cupboard, I found a small zucchini left over from making the stew, a nicely ripe tomato, a few eggs, a few pieces of gluten-free bread several days past their sell-by date but still not moldy, and some Parmesan that I had almost forgotten about.
The eggs were the key ingredient to trigger an idea, because breakfast-for-dinner can be one of the quickest and cheapest weeknight meals you can make, and it’s totally delicious. I’m sort of omelette-impaired, so I went with a quick saute of my vegetables with some defrosted spinach and then scrambled the eggs with grated cheese. You could make this fit a variety of cuisines by altering the spices and the specific ingredients. I was half inspired by the Spanish tortilla (an egg and potato dish) and half by migas, that Tex-Mex staple of roadside diners across America, probably because I was looking at paella recipes a few days ago, I have half a bottle of peri-peri hot sauce in my cupboard as well (it’s Portuguese, but that’s close to Spain…), and scrambled eggs plus cooked tomato and paprika and chilis makes me think of migas.
Lacking potatoes and tortilla chips (and many other things), my actual dinner bore little resemblance to either of those dishes. But hey, it came together in less than 30 minutes from stuff I had sitting around in the kitchen, and it tasted awesome. I ate this over a piece of toast, but found that the toast added absolutely nothing to my enjoyment of the meal, so I have omitted it from the recipe.
Spanish migas (spiced vegetables and scrambled egg)
Yield: 1 serving.
1/2 Tbsp olive oil (more if needed)
1 small onion (optional), chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1 small zucchini, cut into chunks
1/4 tsp each paprika, cumin, cayenne pepper
1 Tbsp tomato paste
1/2 to 1 tsp wholegrain mustard (optional)
1 medium tomato, coarsely chopped
1 handful frozen spinach, thawed and drained (or 1 cup fresh spinach, washed)
1/4 c white wine (optional)
1-2 eggs, beaten
1 Tbsp milk or yogurt (optional; makes eggs fluffier)
1-2 Tbsp grated Parmesan cheese, or more to taste
Salt and pepper to taste
To serve: hot sauce (such as peri-peri sauce, Cholula, or Tabasco), grated Parmesan, salt and pepper to taste.
Add olive oil to a skillet over medium heat. Add onion, if using, and cook for 3-4 minutes, until turning translucent. Add garlic, zucchini, and dry spices, stir to coat vegetables in spices, then cook until zucchini are lightly browned. Add tomato paste and mustard, stirring to coat, and cook several more minutes. Add tomato and spinach and cook until liquid from tomatoes has reduced slightly (and, if using fresh spinach, it should be wilted but not mushy). When the mixture is hot, tomatoes are cooked, and it all has has a relatively solid consistency (make sure you drained the spinach before adding, if using frozen!), remove to a bowl and keep warm. Deglaze* the pan with white wine and pour the resulting sauce over vegetables, or just clean the pan.
To the same skillet, add more olive oil if necessary to reduce sticking and return to medium heat. Beat eggs with milk/yogurt, then add to skillet. Cook to your preferred doneness, stirring more frequently for small curds and less frequently for large curds. In the last few minutes of cooking, grate cheese over the eggs and add salt and pepper to your preference.
Move eggs to plate and top with vegetable mixture. Finish with grated Parmesan, cuisine-appropriate hot sauce of your choice, and salt and pepper to taste.
*Basically, pour a generous splash of white wine in the hot skillet and scrape the pan. If, like me, you didn’t use quite enough olive oil to prevent some spices and vegetable bits from sticking to the pan, you’ll end up with a thick brown liquid.