Side dishes, What's Cookin'
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Wild Asparagus Migas

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This last Saturday morning, I was wandering in the street and I passed in front of this small grocery store where I saw the most beautiful wild asparagus displayed. As soon as I decided to take those beautiful, and also rather expensive asparagus, it came to my mind that they would be the perfect match to lift up that stale bread that I had back home.

Migas is a Portuguese dish traditional from Alentejo region. It can also be found more to the south or in the Spanish Extremadura region. It consists in a loaf of fried breadcrumbs, that is usually served as a side dish with pan-fried pork meat. I really wanted to prepare this dish because it also brings back good memories, I immediately thought about the ones frequently prepared by my grandmother, that would be served with the freshest mackerel that she could find in the fish market that day. She would fry that fish, serve it with migas and with a good lettuce salad. The biggest difference between the combinations that are done in different regions is the more south you go, the more people serve it with fish instead of meats.

The greatness of this recipe relies in turning something unwanted into something delicious. That bread that was about to end up in the bin makes a great side dish. Just try and see!

Ingredients:

(serves 4/5)

  • Wild asparagus
  • 400 g whole grain wheat bread (stale)
  • fat from fried pork meat (optional)
  • 6 cloves of garlic
  • olive oil
  • water
  • black pepper
  • salt

Preparation:

Boil about 1,5 L of water. Tear the bread in small chunks, place those in a container and then add the hot water to soak them. In a pan, add the olive oil and smashed garlic cloves without the skin, let them fry for a bit until they start to get golden. Cut the asparagus heads and set them aside. Then, chop the rest of the asparagus in smaller chunks, add them in that pan and let them fry for a while so they get softer. When the bread is soaked and soft, break it with your fingers in smaller crumbs into the pan. Let everything fry. At this point, if you cooked (pan-fry) the pork meat previously, you can add a bit of the pork meat fat to the dish, it will help it to develop a richer taste. When most of the moist in the bread has evaporated, the bread will start to form a crispy crust in the outside, you need to always keep turning it to avoid that it burns and to assure that the crust is uniformly distributed . It should look like a big quenelle of bread. Place the migas in a pretty tray or plate and serve them with the sauteed heads of the asparagus on top.

Bom apetite!

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