On my first attempt at this dish, following the original recipe, I stirred the eggs into the hot potatoes. They thickened the sauce nicely, but I didn’t think they looked very appetizing. I liked the presentation better when the eggs were allowed to set on top of the potatoes, then broken up to serve (as for huevos rotos, if you’ve ever tried that terrific tapa dish). The runny yolks combined with the broth of the stew create the sauce. 

The best potato for this dish is para freir, a variety best for frying such as Agria, Kennebec and MonaLisa. You don’t want potatoes that will fall apart with reheating. Take care not to overcook them, as they will cook 5 minutes longer when the eggs are added.

Serves 4 as a main; 8 as a side.

2 pounds potatoes

1/3 cup olive oil

1 cup thinly sliced onions

1 cup green pepper, cut in strips

4 cloves garlic

1 dried red chile (optional)

1 teaspoon smoked pimentón (paprika)

½ teaspoon cumin

½ cup peeled and diced tomato

¼ cup white wine

2 cups water or stock + additional for reheating

Pinch of chopped fennel leaves or fennel pollen

Sprig of thyme or pinch of dried thyme

1 ½ teaspoons salt

Freshly ground black pepper

3-4 eggs

Chopped parsley to garnish

Chopped scallion greens to garnish

Peel the potatoes and cut them in bite-size chunks. Place them in a bowl and cover with cold water. Soak the potatoes 30 minutes or up to 2 hours. Drain them well and pat dry.

Fry potatoes in olive oil.

Heat the oil in a deep skillet on moderately high heat. Add the potatoes and carefully turn them in the oil. Allow them to fry without turning until they begin to brown on one side, about 1 minute. Turn and fry until slightly browned on the other side. The idea is to fry just enough to make a crust on all sides of the potatoes.

Use a slotted spoon or skimmer to lift the potatoes out of the oil and into a cazuela or pot. Add the onions and green pepper to the oil. With the side of a knife, lightly crush the cloves of garlic and add them, whole and unpeeled, to the oil with the chile, if using. 

Sauté the vegetables until onion is softened, 4 minutes. Stir in the pimentón and cumin. Immediately add the tomato. Let the tomato cook until it releases its liquid. Add the wine and cook off the alcohol. Add the water, fennel, thyme, salt and pepper. Bring the liquid to a boil, then reduce heat and let the potatoes bubble gently, uncovered, until they are nearly tender, about 10 minutes. There should still be some liquid left.

Break eggs on top of the potatoes.

If the potatoes are to be served the following day, transfer them to a covered container, cool and refrigerate. Let them come to room temperature before finishing the cooking.

Place the potatoes in a pan, adding enough water or stock so they are juicy. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer until the potatoes are thoroughly heated. Carefully break 3 or 4 eggs on top of the potatoes. Cover the pan and continue cooking until the whites of the eggs are set, but the yolks still runny, about 4 minutes. Remove from the heat. 

Sprinkle the eggs with a little salt and pimentón. Garnish with chopped parsley and scallion greens. Immediately before serving, use a knife and fork to cut up the eggs. Let the yolks mix with the potatoes. 

The stew is accompanied by cracked, brine-cured olives with garlic, fennel and thyme. These are the last of the previous year’s olives. This year I haven’t yet picked any for curing because I’m still waiting for a good rain to plump them. It may not happen—- The olives to be picked by my invited crew will be taken to the mill and exchanged for new oil. 

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