Breaking a fast: Chorizo and Leek Scramble with a Spinach, Arugula and Tomato Salad

I have a dietary habit that many regard as peculiar. I fast every Monday. I have fasted like this without fail (except once or twice, I’m only human) for nearly three years now. There are a number of benefits, both health and psychic that I think, and feel I derive from this habit. But, this is a food blog, not a diet blog, and we are here to talk about enjoying food, not avoiding it!

Needless to say the meals with which I break my fasts are some of those I savour the most.  Just remember that “If all the year were playing holidays, to sport would be as tedious as to work, but when they seldom come, they wish’d for come…” After all, “sweets grown common lose their dear delight.”

Today, I broke my fast with something that came out, if a little salty, quite deliciously. A sauté of leeks with garden grown fresno peppers, fried with chorizo, then scrambled together with eggs. To tie the whole thing together with a little ruffage I made a fresh salad of baby spinach, broccoli arugula and orange tomatoes, tossed with olive oil and red wine vinegar. If you know me, you’ll know I was fast into a catnap after that.

Chorizo & Leek Scramble:

  • 3/4 lbs. fresh mexican chorizo, removed from the casing (Buy the fresh store made stuff, it will be hanging in links in a case. The packaged stuff is inconsistent, and mostly no bueno)
  • 2 large leeks, trimmed, cleaned and sliced
  • 2 red fresno peppers
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 5 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon butter

Leeks are one of my favorite vegetables. They add the savour of onions to any dish, but when cooked they take on all sorts of sweet overtones, and develop an amazingly silky texture. There is hardly a dish a leek won’t sit well in.

Leeks grow best in loose sandy soils. On account of this they are persistently gritty devils, so it is very important to clean them thoroughly. Don’t worry, it is worth the effort!

A simple rinse that would suit most vegetables just won’t do for leeks. My preferred method for cleaning them properly is to slice of the bottoms, and slice of the very toughest upper green leaves. Many people discard the whole of the upper green part, as they consider it too tough, but once cooked I think this part is just fine, and the color makes for a nice contrast too. Once the bottom and tops are trimmed, slice the leek in half length wise, along the natural crease in the outer leaves. Then separate each “leaf” and rinse thoroughly under water. Sometimes you actually have to scrub the dirt out with your hands. Lay each rinsed leaf on a towel to dry.

Once the leeks are cleaned and dryed, cut them into about 1/2 inch slices. Half the fresno peppers, and slice the halves. Depending on your love of heat, leave the seeds or not. Dice the garlic clove.

To remove the chorizo from its casing, just run a sharp knife lengthwise along the sausages. The filling will come right out. But be careful not to spill it everywhere.

Heat a pan to medium high. Add the olive oil, and let it sit in the pan till it  is warm, then add the butter and melt it, but do not let it brown, or else it will take on a bitter flavor. Once the butter starts to bubble up, but before it burns, add the leeks to the pan. Sauté the leeks on medium high for about 10 – 12 minutes, or until they are meltingly silky, transluscent and the edges are starting to caramelize, and your kitchen is filled with an atmosphere of incredible aromas wafting out the windows in the shape of cartoon hands sent to tease the noses of unsuspecting hungry passers by. Once the leeks have reached this state, add the sliced fresno peppers. Sauté for another minute or two, or until the peppers are softened. Then, add the diced garlic and stir it into the sauté, cooking for about one minute longer. Transfer this heavenly silky spicy mix from the pan to a bowl with a slotted spoon.

Raise the heat on the stove to high. Add the Chorizo, and let it brown. While the chorizo is browning, break the eggs into a bowl, and whisk them together.

Once the chorizo is evenly browned, return the leek mixture to the pan, and stir it into the chorizo. Then, pour the beaten eggs into the pan, while scrambling all the while. Make sure to stir the mix vigorously and quickly, or else the eggs will set in one spot, instead of scrambling as a sort of binding throughout. Once the eggs are cooked, serve immediately. As chorizo is very salty, this dish needs no extra salt or pepper, and does very well being served on a bed of greens like spinach or arugula, or, if you want something with some crunch, try a bed of shredded green cabbage. The greens will absorb the saltiness of the dish, and finish each bite with a fresh taste on the palate.
Another potential variation is to simply use this as a filling for a tortilla. With some black beans, and shredded cabbage you will have a pretty righteous breakfast burrito.

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