Nelson, Potato, me: going to Spain on Wednesday!
I know. In honor of this momentous occasion, let's take a li'l spin in the Wayback Machine to probably the first Spanish recipe I ever cooked, back in 1997 or something. I remember it taking foreeeeeeeever to make the syrup, and thinking the whole time, "Wow, that's a waste of a lot of booze."
The recipe is from the dark blue Best Of Food & Wine cookbook I think one or more of my parents gave to me, probably my first cookbook ever, after the now-legendary 365 Ways To Cook Chicken which was literally the first cookbook I ever cooked out of. Chicken Divan.
torrijas with orange-flavored syrup.
1 1/4 cups fresh orange juice
1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
1/3 cup plus 1 tbsp Spanish brandy
1/3 cup plus 1 tbsp orange liqueur
1/3 cup plus 1 tbsp port
Zest of 1/2 orange, cut in fine julienne strips
1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon sugar
1 quart milk
zest of 1/2 lemon
one 1 1/2 inch cinnamon stick
6 slices (3/4 inch thick) of crusty Italian bread
1/4 cup olive oil
3 eggs, well beaten
In a small nonreactive saucepan, combine the orange juice, lemon juice, brandy, orange liqueur, port, orange zest, and sugar. Bring to a gentle boil over moderately low heat and simmer until the liquid has reduced to 1 1/4 cups, about 25 minutes. Set aside. (The syrup can also be made the day beforehand and refrigerated.)
In a medium saucepan, combine the milk with the lemon zest and cinnamon stick; bring to a simmer over low heat, and let steep for 20 minutes.
Meanwhile, place 3 bread slices in a single layer in a baking dish. Pour half the milk over the bread and let sit for a few minutes.
Warm the syrup if necessary. Heat a large heavy skillet over moderate heat until hot. Add 2 tablespoons of the olive oil.
Carefully dip the soaked bread in the beaten eggs and turn to coat both sides, then place in the skillet. Cook, turning once, until nicely browned and firm, 3 to 4 minutes per side. repeat with the remaining olive oil and bread.
Arrange the torrijas on a platter and drizzle with the warm orange syrup. Pass the remaining syrup on the side.
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