Torrija is the Spanish version of French toast. Served during Easter celebrations, day-old bread is soaked in an egg, milk, orange and cinnamon mixture and then fried. Traditionally eaten as a sweet, this recipe offers a savoury twist to a Spanish classic that is perfect for either an entrée or to be served as canapés. The Chefs' Line
- 2 tsp vegetable oil
- 10 smoked duck hearts (see note)
- 100 ml sherry vinegar
- 100 ml fig vincotto
- 200 g guanciale (cured pork cheek), thinly sliced
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- Blood mustard leaves, to serve
- 1 litre milk
- 2 cinnamon sticks
- 1 orange, rind peeled with a vegetable peeler
- 5 whole eggs
- 5 egg yolks
- 1 small loaf day-old sourdough bread
- 150 ml vegetable oil, for frying
- Plain flour, for dusting
- 2 tsp cinnamon, finely ground
- 100 g caster sugar
Duck liver pate
- 100 g bacon, roughly chopped
- 250 g onion, roughly chopped
- 50 g garlic, roughly chopped
- 100 ml white wine
- 100 ml brandy
- 50 ml white port
- 200 g unsalted butter
- 500 g duck liver
- 200 g eggs (about 4)
- 1 egg yolk
- 2 tsp salt
- ½ tsp curing salt (see Notes)
- ½ tsp finely ground black pepper
- 1/8 tsp ground nutmeg
Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.
You will need to begin this recipe one day prior.
Marinating time overnight
For the torrija, place the milk, cinnamon sticks and orange rind in a non-reactive saucepan over medium heat until it reaches boiling point. Remove from the heat and stand until cooled until room temperature.
Place the whole eggs, egg yolks and cooled milk in a bowl and whisk to combine.
Slice the sourdough bread into 1.5 cm-thick slices and cut off the crusts. Cut the slices into
4 cm squares and place in a container deep and wide enough for the bread to be submerged in the milk mixture. Don’t pack the bread in more than 3 layers on top of each other. Pour the milk mixture on top of the bread, making sure all the bread is submerged. Cover and refrigerate overnight.
Meanwhile, for the duck liver pâté, place the bacon, onion and garlic in a frying pan over medium heat and cook, stirring regularly until soft and translucent, without any colour. Add the wine, brandy and port and boil for 1 minute to infuse the flavours. Remove from the heat and rest for 10 minutes. Strain the liquid, discard the solids and cool the liquid over an ice bath.
To clarify the butter, melt the unsalted butter in a heavy saucepan over low heat until the bubbling ceases and the liquid turns clear. Strain through a fine sieve, being sure to leave any solids in the bottom of the pan. Stand until cool but still liquid.
Half fill a deep heavy-based baking tray with water and place on the stove over low heat. Bring to 68˚C. Have about five 250 ml (1 cup) capacity mason jars and their lids ready for filling.
Place the cooled infused alcohol, duck liver, eggs, egg yolk, salts and spices in a food processor and blitz until smooth. With the motor running, gradually add slowly add the clarified butter until emulsified. Working quickly, pass the puree through a fine-mesh sieve. It’s important to be speedy to ensure that your mixture doesn’t begin to oxidize. Pour the mixture into a jug, then pour the mixture into the jars, leaving about 4 cm free from the top (that way you can submerge the jars in water to the point where all the pate is submerged but not the whole jar). Twist the lids until just barely closed and still possible to open with your fingertips.
Place the jars straight into the preheated water and cook for 90 minutes. If using larger jars, extend your cooking time by 30 minutes. The core temperature of the spread should reach 68˚C. Once cooked, carefully remove the jars and place on a wire rack to cool, then refrigerate overnight. The pâté will keep refrigerated in the jars for at least 5 days. Just before serving, transfer the pâté to a food processor and blitz until smooth. Transfer to a piping bag.
When ready to serve, preheat the oven to 150˚C. Place the sliced guanciale on a baking paper lined baking tray, ensuring the slices aren’t touching. Cook for 10 minutes or until golden and crisp. Drain on paper towel and set aside.
For the duck hearts, cut off the first couple of millimetres from the top of the hearts (the larger end, not the pointy end). Heat the vegetable oil a frying pan over high heat until smoking hot. Add the smoked duck hearts and quickly sear on each side until caramelised but not cooked through. Remove from the pan and sprinkle with salt and pepper. The hearts should be served medium rare, otherwise, they will be tough. Return the pan to medium-high heat. Add the sherry vinegar and vincotto and simmer until reduced and slightly sticky. Remove from the heat and pour into a bowl to stop it from cooking further.
To serve, heat the oil for frying in a wide frying pan over medium-high heat. Remove the pieces of soaked sourdough from the liquid, dust in flour and pan-fry until golden on each side. Drain on paper towel, then dust the fried bread with a mixture of the ground cinnamon and sugar. Pipe the duck liver pâté onto the bread.
Cut the smoked duck hearts in half lengthways and place on top of the pate along with the crispy guanciale. Drizzle with the fig glaze and garnish with the blood mustard leaves.
• For the smoked duck hearts - unless you have a smoker at home, you’ll have to be very crafty. Place some woodchips in the bottom of a metal tray, then place another perforated metal tray on top of that with the duck hearts in it. Seal the top tray with plastic wrap to ensure the smoke stays inside. Place the tray onto an open flame such as a gas stovetop and wait for the woodchips to light. As soon as you see the tray filling with smoke, remove it from the heat and place it somewhere outside where you won’t trigger the smoke alarm!
•The curing salt helps retain a very light pink colour in the pate, but as it’s only for aesthetics, don’t worry if you can’t find it from specialist butchers.
This recipe is from Series 2 of The Chefs' Line airing weeknights at 6pm on SBS. Episodes will be available after broadcast via SBS On Demand. Join the conversation #TheChefsLine on Instagram @sbsfood, Facebook @SBSFood and Twitter @SBS_Food. Check out sbs.com.au/thechefsline for episode guides, cuisine lowdowns, recipes and more!