POTATOES, FRESH CHEESE AND SLOW SCRAMBLED EGGS
Serves 4 to 6 and multiplies easily
4 to 6 1/2-inch-thick slices of chewy whole-grain bread
1 garlic clove, split
About 3 tablespoons good-tasting extra-virgin olive oil
Potatoes and Onions:
Good-tasting extra-virgin olive oil
2 medium red skin potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/4-inch dice
1 medium red onion, cut into 1/4-inch dice
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/2 to 1 teaspoon smoked Spanish paprika (Pimentón de la Vera), hot or mild, or other ground chile to taste
1 teaspoon tomato paste
2 large garlic cloves, minced
Water as needed
Eggs and Finishing:
8 to 10 large eggs
1/4 cup cream or milk
4 ounces cream cheese, cut into 1/4-inch dice
4 whole scallions, snipped into thin rings
4 pale green center leaves from a head of curly endive, or a handful of frisée, or mixed tart greens, torn into bite-sized pieces
Using tongs, toast the bread to golden brown over a burner (or grill), or under the boiler. Rub both sides of each slice with the split clove of garlic, and set a slice on each dinner plate. Drizzle the bread slices with a little olive oil and set aside.
Generously film the bottom of a 12-inch slant-sided skillet (non stick is an asset here) with the olive oil. Heat over medium-high and add the potatoes with sprinklings of salt and pepper. Cook 2 minutes, then add the onions and continue cooking and turning with a plastic spatula until both are golden and the potatoes are just tender.
Blend in the garlic, paprika, tomato paste and about 1/2 cup water. Scrape up any brown glaze from the pan as you cook the mixture a minute, or until the water evaporates. Taste for seasoning.
Stir in the eggs, cream and a little salt and pepper. Adjust the heat so the eggs cook slowly (medium to medium-low). Keep stirring with the spatula, folding the eggs over on each other for 30 seconds and then stir in the cream cheese. Stir and cook until the eggs are done to your taste (a personal choice is soft, but not runny), which is usually no more than 5 minutes. Fold in the scallions and greens and spoon the eggs over the garlic bread. Serve hot.
Smoked Spanish paprika (Pimentón de la Vera) can be found in some well-stocked supermarkets. Online sources include www.tienda.com, www.spanishtable.com, and www.penzeys.com.
If you don't have smoky Spanish paprika, the sweet and not-too-hot ancho chile could take over, or simply use a sweet paprika and little hot red pepper flakes for kick.
The lagniappe in this dish is two recipes in one. The sautéed onions and potatoes could stand on their own (with or without the greens), as could the scrambled eggs with the cream and cheese.
THOUGHTS FROM LYNNE
Tis the season when lovers of planting seeds and making magic happen start to plot and dream. One of our perennial sources for seeds and a staunch pioneer in biodiversity (they have one of the largest seed banks in the country), is Seed Savers Exchange (www.seedsavers.org). Gardeners actually swap seeds, or you can purchase from their thousands of selections. The tomato section alone is worth an hour or two of thought. This is where you go for the rare, the unusual, and the tried and true.