BREAKFAST OF CHAMPIONS The Spanish and Portuguese use up their stale bread for ‘Migas’, literally translated as ‘crumbs’, a traditional breakfast dish.
We make brown bread and cakes in this house, and they generally turn out well. We have a bread maker for yeast loaves – they’re good but not brilliant. Occasionally we’ll try yeast bread without the maker and it’s never great – I think our house isn’t warm enough. But also, I think when it comes to yeast and sourdough breads, some people just have a gift for it.
Patrick O’Reilly at Cornrue bakery in Westport has the vocation – his bread won the Gold Medal in the 2019 Blas na hÉireann food awards. It’s divine, and our kids are addicted to it. Patrick’s bread comes in big, strong loaves and as you cut it sometimes bits fall off and there are edges left that are too small to cut. What to do?
The obvious, if you are roasting a chicken, is to grind the bread in a processor and make stuffing with onions, butter and sage – and sausage meat if you like. If you’re not cooking meat, stuff some mushrooms with the breadcrumbs, melted butter, garlic and herbs and bake in a hot oven.
Homemade fishfingers are a great idea – just coat a strong white fish like hake, brushed with beaten egg, in a crumb and parsley mix. Or make an easy pasta meal with spaghetti, chilli and garlic, and bring it to another level by frying up a big handful of good-quality bread crumbs in olive oil with parsley until crispy, then sprinkling on top.
Migas de Chorizo
Across the Iberian Peninsula, the Spanish and Portuguese use up their stale bread for ‘Migas’, literally translated as ‘crumbs’, a traditional breakfast dish.
There are dozens of regional specialities combining yesterday’s bread with various ingredients, often sausage or meat, sometimes sardines or vegetables. You need to use a robust, rustic bread for this dish – Cornrue’s is ideal. I make this for a quick tasty brunch and often serve with a poached egg on top. Olé!
What you need
- 4 slices of stale crusty bread
- 200g of Spanish chorizo
- A few tablespoons of olive oil
- 3-4 crushed garlic cloves
- A small handful of finely chopped parsley
- 2 tsps of Spanish sweet paprika
What you do
Cut the chorizo into 1cm slices. Cut or rip the bread into 1cm cubes. Add enough oil to cover the surface of a heavy-bottomed pan. Heat and cook the garlic for about a minute, keep stirring to prevent it burning.
Add the chorizo and cook for two to three minutes, until browned. (You can add some strips of red pepper while you’re frying the chorizo if you fancy it, for extra taste and texture.) Sprinkle the sweet paprika into the pan and mix. Next add the cubes of bread to the pan and fry – again, stirring all the while – ’til golden. Lash in the parsley, mix and serve!
The Cabot family live and work in Lanmore, outside Westport. Fresh, seasonal foods are their passion, from country markets to growing, making and selling. They love cooking and eating at the kitchen table, while Redmond and Sandra are kept on their toes with children Penny and Louis. Here they share their favourite recipes.