They gave us whole bags of tortillas from Santa Rosa-based La Tortilla Factory at the IFBC cocktail party. But, after my first food blogger’s conference, I was itching to get back out to the farm and reconnect. In just a matter of a few weeks, all of the pears that were dangling from sagging tree branches were now gone, lest the few that had fallen to the ground and given the air a perfume of fermentation. What had ripened in that short time were the Brown Turkey figs. The purple coloring on the figs had started to creep upward and consume the green, ribbons of sugary syrup oozing out of cracks. The last few days in the Sacramento valley had ceased to punish us with triple degree weather. The delta breeze began to stir curtains and pour into open and screened windows, cooling the nights down to the point where I grabbed a light quilt from my closet. The mornings felt calm and the sky was tinged with brass, reminding you that autumn is just around the corner, but not before another heatwave. It felt like autumn just long enough to actify the gatherer within me and set me off onto the farm to pick figs. But, not before coffee and breakfast.
At the IFBC, there was a swag table where we could fill up our gratuitous bags adorned with a silkscreened ear of corn on the front. Confectionaries, whole grain granolas, dried figs, t-shirts, goat cheese, cans of Blue Diamond almonds, tortillas. Whole bags of La Tortilla Factory tortillas. La Tortilla 50/50 (have corn, half flour) Factory. I placed them on the cast iron placa until erratic charred spots formed, tore a piece off and pinched my chorizo and eggs into the torn piece of tortilla. The 50/50 were better than expected, with the texture and robust flavor of corn, but with the pliability of flour tortillas. Unfortunately, it took longer to cook than it took for me to eat and throw back a hot cup of cafe con leche. And I’d like to say I consumed my breakfast quickly so I could get out onto the farm sooner, but we both know that would be inaccurate.
This recipe contains the following term: Paysanne.
- 1# Ground Pork (with some fat)
- 1/4 cup garlic, roughly chopped
- 2TB onion, roughly chopped
- 2TB unfiltered apple cider vinegar
- 1TB paprika (not smoked)
- 1TB ground ancho chile powder
- 1 tsp ground cayenne
- 1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
- 1/4 tsp ground cumin
- 1/4 tsp ground oregano
- Salt and Pepper
- 3 Eggs
- 2 Medium Russet Potatoes, sliced paysanne
- Splash of milk (optional)
- To make chorizo | In a bowl, mix the vinegar, onion, garlic, and all the spices.
- Place ground pork into a food processor and pulse three times. Add aromatic mixture into the ground pork and pulse until it resembles meat paste; should be 2-3 more pulses.
- You can use immediately, but letting it rest in the refrigerator for at least an hour in a plastic covered bowl is recommended.
- To cook chorizo, eggs and potatoes | Place eggs and a splash of milk into a bowl, and whip with a fork until whites and yolks are combined. Set aside.
- Against all the things you've heard about consistent sizing when it comes to chopping, roughly chop your potatoes into irregular sizes. Slice the potatoes in half lengthwise, cut those pieces, skin facing up, into half lengthwise (should now have eight long wedges). Place two wedges side by side, skin facing up and slice into paysanne. Try to have some pieces thin and some a little thicker than thin.
- In a 10'' cast-iron skillet, over med-high heat, heat an inch of canola oil. Place one of your slices of potato in the skillet to see if the oil is hot enough; bubbles with form around the potato, it will sizzle, the potato will fry. Dump all of the potatoes into the hot oil, season with salt and pepper, ensuring that most make contact with the bottom of the pan to gain their crust; 3-5 mins. Flip potatoes. Season with salt and pepper. When the thicker potatoes are fork tender, remove from pan with slotted spoon and set aside. Remove oil from pan.
- In the same pan, add your chorizo; cook for 5 mins. When chorizo meat starts to separate from fat, add your potatoes and make sure chorizo coats the potatoes. Add your eggs. Cook until eggs have solidified; 3-5 mins.
- Try not to disturb mixture too much at this point because you want to keep the potatoes in large pieces.
- Remove pan from flame and set aside, while keeping it in the cast-iron skillet. Serve with tortillas.
The reason why I mention using Pumpkin Pie Spice is because it's an economical shortcut. If you don't use ground cinnamon, ground cloves, ground ginger and ground nutmeg all that often, it could lose its pungency by the time you get around to using it next. And you invested at least $10 in purchasing all of those spices.
I use Trader Joe's Pumpkin Pie Spice which contains cinnamon, clove, ginger, nutmeg, cardamom and lemon peel. It's superior.
The insanity behind the irregular cutting of the potatoes lends itself in the texture. Some of the potatoes will turn into crispy bits and some will remain thoroughly cooked, but tender.