While we were wintering-over in Portugal in 2007-2008, one of my favorite dishes to order when eating out was Bacalhau a Brás, salted cod with scrambled eggs and potatoes. One sunny day at Linda Beach Bar, I really lucked out. Whoever the chef was that day, had prepared the dish better than I had ever had it before or since. The eggs were pillow-like in their fluffiness and the potatoes tasted very fresh, both complementing the salted cod perfectly.
Although I had never attempted to make it before myself, I was determined to replicate the way the egg, potatoes and salt worked together. It needed to be something I could make easily onboard. For one of our Sunday brunches, I consulted my copy of Flavours of Portugal by Tania Gomes and prepared the following version of the dish for my husband David and me, substituting presunto (the Portuguese version of what is called prosciutto in Italy or Iberian ham in Spain) because I didn’t have any salted cod that day. I decided to name it “Eggs-a-brás” in honor of the recipe’s inspiration: the famous Portuguese dish. If you have it available, go ahead and make it the traditional way, using salted cod instead of ham or bacon, after soaking, washing and removing the skin and bones, that is.
2 cups potatoes (I prefer red or golden), cut into thin, “match stick” strips
1 T extra virgin olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 T milk
4 slices of salt cured ham (presunto, prosciutto or Iberian ham) or 4-6 slices high quality cooked bacon, cut into small pieces
1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped
Salt and pepper to taste
Black olives and sliced lemons for garnish
Sauté the potatoes in olive oil until lightly golden brown (or roast in the oven at 400 F). Remove from pan, drain on paper towels to remove excess oil and set aside. In a large frying pan, sauté the onions over medium heat until golden, about 3-5 minutes. Add the garlic and continue cooking for another minute or so, being careful that the garlic does not turn brown. Add the ham and cooked potatoes, and continue cooking over low heat stirring constantly for a minute or so, enough to heat them. Push the ingredients to the edge of the pan. Mix together the eggs, milk, salt and pepper and pour into the center of the pan. Using a wooden spoon, cook the scrambled egg mixture over low heat until it is cooked thoroughly but not dried out. Toss gently with the remaining ingredients in the pan just before serving. Place on a pre-warmed serving dish or plate, sprinkle with finely chopped parsley and garnish with olives and lemon slices. Serve warm with arugula as a side salad.