Huevos rotos (aka Spanish potatoes with broken eggs) is a pretty straight-forward concept: Fried potatoes topped with a runny fried egg, often with chorizo or cured ham. The runny yolks break and coat the potatoes in a decadent and addictively saucy way. My version guest-stars poblano, plenty of spices, and turns it into a one-skillet dish, which is both efficient and very cute.
With or without chorizo, this skillet of huevos rotos makes a hearty, savory breakfast or brunch.
While I do love what a smokey savory bit of chorizo can add to this dish, I've been tinkering with how to make it meat-free, for obvious reasons. But also because it's cheaper, and I'm more likely to have everything on hand to make it on the fly! If you want to add chorizo, go for it. But it doesn't matter if you're going meatless or not, because this recipes infuses the flavors of chorizo into all the nooks and crannies, thanks to my addictively savory chorizo salt!
With such simple ingredients, how you use them really matters...
With so few ingredients, you really want the textures and flavors to pop, right? If you just dump everything in a skillet at once, you'll get something that is overall tasty, but also a bit bland and homogeneous. With a few simple tweaks in how you treat the ingredients, you'll end up with better textures and better flavor!
Potatoes, Potatoes, Potatoes
I like to microwave the chunked up potatoes before sizzling. You get a tender texture much faster than if you dumped them into the skillet raw, and time-savers are always welcome. Plus, it means you can give them a gentle smush once they hit the skillet, maximizing the surface area for tasty, tasty browning.
The poblano chili also gets a bit of extra consideration. Rather than adding it to the pan right away, I like to keep it out until a later step. It'll cook and get tender while the eggs cook, but if added earlier, with the onion, it would over-cook. Waiting means that the pieces retain a bit of their vibrant flavor and a slightly more toothsome texture. And again, since this is such a simple dish, maximizing every ingredient is the name of the game.
Flavor Tip: A bit of acidity will make everything taste more like itself.
The vinegar is subtle, but it does double duty here. First, it de-glazes the pan, so any bits of spice or starchy potatoes loosen up nicely and reincorporates into the mixture. Second, it adds a bit of brightness to an overall very savory and somewhat dense dish. It's not as transformative as a drizzle of finishing vinegar (or hot sauce, or lemon juice...), but it does wake everything up a bit.
Think of it as opening the curtains to let the light in, so you can see what's in the room more clearly. Anything acidic is the point here, but fancy flavors will just bubble away, which is why I reach for my least fancy option: white vinegar. You can use other vinegars, but I recommend saving your good stuff for dressings and finishing touches.
There may not be chorizo in my chorizo salt, but it does add a ton of flavor to these huevos rotos!
This may be a controversial statement, but a lot of the time the things that taste good about meat products are their spices and the savoriness (aka, natural glutamates, aka MSG!). It's not necessarily the meat itself. Cured meats, like chorizo, do get an extra somethin'-somethin' from the aging process, but overall it's the spices like moody and smokey pimentón de la vera (Spanish smoked paprika) and garlic that make chorizo taste like chorizo. So... Since good chorizo Iberico can be pricey (and I don't keep a regular stash on hand), I decided to experiment with a recipe for chorizo salt, complete with glutamate-y goodness. I use that to spice these huevos rotos, giving them the character of chorizo without the price tag or trip to the grocery store. And, as a bonus, that makes them vegetarian!
Notes for Success:
Because ground spices cook quickly, and thus are prone to burning, I add the blend in two stages. First a spoonful to coat everything in the skillet just before reducing the heat, then a generous sprinkle over the surface before cracking the eggs on top. This lets the flavors seep down into the potatoes and helps to season the eggs, while also minimizing the amount of spices in direct contact with the hot pan. Because the temperature is immediately lowered, it's overall a gentler cooking environment.
I know some people don't mind the flavor of charred ground spices (like on steak rubs), but to me that flavor is murky and unpleasant. If you want to rebel against this theory, that's fine. You do you! Just stir in 2 teaspoons of the chorizo salt to the pan instead of just 1, skip the surface sprinkle, and call it a day.
"Can I increase the number of servings?"
If you'd like to double this recipe, go for it! Make sure to use a 12-inch skillet, and crack as many eggs as you want on top. My rule is generally 2 eggs per person.
Huevos Rotos (Spanish Potatoes with "Broken Eggs")
- ¾ pound new potatoes or baby red potatoes, halved or quartered if large
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- ½ large yellow onion, chopped, About 1 cup
- Kosher salt
- 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 1 poblano pepper, cut lengthwise into quarters, then thinly sliced crosswise, About 1 cup
- 1 tablespoon white vinegar
- 3 tablespoons chopped parsley, divided
- 4 eggs
- 1 scallion, thinly sliced
- Hot sauce, to serve
For the Chorizo Salt:
- ¾ teaspoon smoked sweet paprika, Preferably Spanish pimentón de la vera
- ½ teaspoon Kosher salt or fine sea salt
- ¼ teaspoon ground cumin
- ¼ teaspoon dried oregano
- ¼ teaspoon dried thyme
- ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
- ⅛ teaspoon sugar
- Pinch of MSG, Optional
- Step 1Combine all the ingredients for the chorizo salt in a small bowl. Set aside.
- Step 2Pre-cook the potatoes: In a large, covered, microwave-safe bowl, microwave the potatoes on high for 3 minutes. Stir, re-cover, and microwave another 3 minutes, or until completely tender. Drain off any liquid that has accumulated in the bottom of the bowl.
- Step 3In a medium nonstick or well-seasoned cast iron skillet over medium, heat the oil until nearly smoking. Add the potatoes in a single layer and gently smush each chunk with a fork or potato masher. Cook without disturbing until deep golden brown on the bottom, 3 to 5 minutes. Stir and continue to let crisp another 3 to 5 minutes. Stir in the onion and a generous pinch of plain salt. Cook, stirring frequently, until the onions have softened, about 5 minutes. Stir in the garlic, poblano, and about half of the chorizo salt. Cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Stir in the vinegar and half the parsley, then spread the mixture evenly over the pan and reduce the heat to medium-low.
- Step 3Sprinkle the surface of the mixture evenly with the remaining chorizo salt. Crack each of the eggs onto the surface of the mixture, evenly spacing them around the skillet. Cover and cook until the egg whites are set but the yolks are still runny, about 4 to 8 minutes depending on how tightly your lid fits. When the eggs are done, gently cut the top of each one to reveal the yolk, then sprinkle with the remaining parsley and the scallion. Serve with plenty of hot sauce.