The migas touch

migas-1aFEW aromas arrest the senses more effectively than food cooking over an open fire. The smell of bacon and eggs wafting across a Highland campsite as the sun rises above the mountains; chicken sizzling on a seaside barbecue; goulash bubbling in a blackened pot as embers spark and crackle on a Hungarian hillside. This is food in the wild, as our ancestors cooked it; and it is food that has had its flavours enhanced by fire, smoke, dry wood and the elements . . .

Beneath a canopy of eucalyptus woodland near the town of Orgiva, in southern Andalucia, people are busy. Fires have been kindled from eucalyptus bark and olive wood. Pans are being heated. Flames are crackling, oil bubbling.

This is the town’s annual migas festival. Migas is a popular dish across large swathes of Spain and southern and middle America. And like all popular dishes it has its origins in basic, peasant cuisine and appears in many variations. In the same way that no two Lancashire hotpots or two Sunday roast dinners are the same – no two plates of migas are identical. Recipes vary from region to region, town to town, family to family.

migas-2a migas-3 migas-4Migas has constants, of course, and the constant in Andalucian migas is a bed of couscous fried with garlic in olive oil. Elsewhere, the constant is a bed of breadcrumbs fried with garlic in olive oil. Both are equally authentic and delicious.

On the couscous/breadcrumb base – or mixed in with it – go sausages, chorizo, morcilla (spicy black pudding) bacon, fried egg and fried peppers. This comprises a typical dish if you buy migas at a restaurant here in the Alpujarras. It’s a full English breakfast plus local additions, and pungent flavours of Spain and Morocco.

In other regions, preferred ingredients range from kale and grapes to sardines, anchovies and cod. Like the Sunday roast, you are conditioned to make migas how your mother made it. And because your mother had the migas touch, you adhere to family tradition.

migas-5a migas-7 migas-8 migas-9We drift through a smoky haze beneath tall trees, our appetites sharpened by the sounds of sizzling oil and crackling wood, the aromas of peppers, garlic and onions frying, and cured meats roasting over flames.

Tonight we dine on migas accompanied by the local wine – food from the forests and the hearths of the peasants; flavours of Spain with hints of north Africa. It doesn’t come better than that.

migas-6

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10 thoughts on “The migas touch

  1. Never mind driverless cars, internet smells are what we need at a time like this. Those last two sausages look beyond description. Wish I was there. Have you thought about starting an export business and sending some of this stuff back to all us wretches stuck in Britain?.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Your post is almost multi dimensional with many perceiving experiences. A lovely presentation of Migas, Alen.
    Different versions of the same dinner with secret high-rated recipes tucked away in a safe, of which only two people are aware of. Two, if one of them of inscrutable reasons were to depart this life. In our circle of friends, it’s a carrot cake which has achieved the status, and not a sophisticated Migas fried over bonfires 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

      1. I think the world needs delicate tasty and healthy recipes to prepare vegetables.
        I can provide a relatively good recipe for carrot cake. Relative, because it is not me who are the famous baker.
        Are you in possession of healthy recipes for the vegetables you produce?
        … And what about export of quality almonds to me? 🙂
        The almonds have risen in price because of considerable demand.

        Like

        1. I made an excellent moussaka last night using my own aubergines, though I can’t say it was a particularly healthy recipe. Very tasty, though.
          This is the place for almonds, nearly every farm grows them, although we don’t have a single tree, unfortunately. I can do olives, oranges, pears and pomegranates. Masses of pomegranates at the moment, but there’s a limit to what you can do with them – unless you have a recipe for pomegranate cake!

          Liked by 1 person

          1. Pomegranates are extremely healthy and the seeds taste very delicate when drizzled over fried vegetables.
            Is the season just started?
            We have loads of dried withered editions shouting for help to one another in the grocer’s boxes.

            Liked by 1 person

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