When we want to indicate that someone is a really awful cook many of us say: “He can’t even fry an egg.” But the fact is that few of us can fry an egg properly. And doing a perfect one is a culinary feat most of us never achieve — even by accident.
An egg is perfectly fried when the white is just set and still fluffily soft and the yolk is completely runny. It my well be that you don’t like your fried eggs that way, preferring a white that is cooked to a plastic solidity and with a yolk that is almost like that of a hard-boiled egg.
If that’s the case you won’t like the fried eggs at this new restaurant because they are exactly as described above — and they were worth a great big 10.
They came as the main ingredient in a dish called huevos rotos con butifarrón, literally broken eggs with black pudding. For decades, huevos rotos con patatas fritas, broken eggs with chips, was the signature dish of a Madrid restaurant called Casa Lucio.
When the waiter brought the dish to the table he slashed through the eggs (fried as described above) with a tablespoon and fork so that the fluffy white and the runny yolks oozed over the chips to provide a scrummy sauce.
The dish is internationally famous and everyone who is anyone (including many of us who are no one) went to Casa Lucio to have huevos rotos — if we had booked far enough in advance. King Juan Carlos was a regular and took Bill Clinton there to try the huevos rotos.
Palma foodies were lucky when several years ago Iván González introduced them to huevos rotos. Before coming to Palma, Iván had worked in Casa Lucio and his main job was doing the huevos rotos. The dish was so popular there that two cooks were doing them all day long.
Iván did the huevos rotos exactly as in Casa Lucio, using Galician kennebec potatoes and free-range eggs and they were a delight. But other cooks here, instead of doing broken eggs with chips, did fanciful versions that included slices of cured ham, black pudding, foie gras and even Canadian lobster, for which the price was between €18-€23. None of these so-called creative versions was anything like as good as the original plain huevos rotos con patatas fritas.
The cooks at Melassa produced two eggs that looked as if they were done on a hot-plate — so technically they weren’t fried, but they were absolute perfection and I wouldn’t have wanted them any other way. The diced black pudding got in the way and didn’t enhance the dish at all.
There are few things I like better than coming across a simple dish like fried eggs that is beyond any kind of improvement. It doesn’t happen all that often and when it does the meal becomes most memorable. In the traditional and original huevos rotos con patatas fritas, the eggs are slashed with a spoon and fork so that the whites and yolks are broken up and ooze all over the chips like a scrummy sauce. But the whites and the yolks of these eggs were so perfect it would have been an act of vandalism to slice through them. So we gently dipped the unpeeled wedges of fried potato into the eggs. Sheer bliss.
Restaurante Melassa, Calle Blanquerna 12, Palma. Tel:971-203204. Open every day for lunch and dinner. They do an €11.50 menú del día from Monday to Friday. They have plenty of space and booking shouldn’t be necessary except perhaps at the weekend or if you want to eat on the terrace — which, at the moment, is in the sun during lunchtime.
· Raolas verduras, 8 euros
· Huevos rotos, 9 euros
· Four cañas, 7 euros
Total cost with VAT: 24 euros.