Saturday, January 10, 2009

Eggs à la Charlton Heston

I know Watson just posted about a fantastic mishmash breakfast, but frankly fantastic mishmash breakfasts are something we do a lot of around here. The warhorse of the group is something that we call Mexican Eggs, though it is sometimes about as Mexican as
Kenny Shopsin’s African Green Curry Soup is African (i.e., it is essentially just our idea of something that people in Mexico might like). It derives, as the mushroom lasagna did, from Annie Somerville’s Fields of Greens, and if that means we’re in a rut, so be it. It is a very tasty rut.

What you do is this: sauté up some red peppers—or green if you like them; we do not. You can also include some onion (red or white) or garlic, if you’re so inclined. As things fry up, toss in either some grated jalapeño or a spoonful or two of hot salsa—right now we’re favoring the Frontera chipotle salsa, but suit yourself.

Wait, did I say grated jalapeño? I did. Next time you pick up some fresh ones, toss a couple in the freezer. When the time comes, pop them out and without defrosting set to work on them with a box grater or microplane. You get nice little spicy bits and much easier cleanup than when you wrestle a live one.

While the peppers and what-have-you are frying up, slice up a flour tortilla. (Do not use corn tortillas because they are always unappetizingly mealy.) Beat four or five eggs and set aside. Chop a little cilantro and some scallions, if you have them. Also grate a nice pile of cheese—cheddar is a favorite here, but lots of standardish white and yellow cheeses work just fine. Pause to wonder why there seems to be very little actual good Mexican cheese, yet seemingly endless varieties of the blander kinds.

As the peppers stick and blacken a bit, add the tortilla slices. Push them around a little, and maybe add another spoonful of salsa. Add the eggs and mix in well. As the eggs start to set up, add the cheese. Serve immediately and garnish with the cilantro, scallions, and more salsa. It will not be the prettiest plate you have ever presented, but this is a mishmash breakfast, not
Hot Potato, Cold Potato, for goodness sake.

You can vary the specifics in this essentially to your heart’s content. We’ve been working in some Trader Joe’s veggie chorizo lately (add it just before the tortilla strips). It adds a bit more spice, depth, and color to the final product. And for a couple white middle-class Northerners who don't know jack about Mexico, those are all good things.

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