Sometimes you find a recipe that is more than a sum of it's parts. A way to prepare simple foods in an interesting way with lots of easy variations. Sometimes this recipe suprises you and you find yourself eating it every meal for three days straight. This recipe is all of that and more. Smitten Kitchen calls it Huevos Rancheros, I call it Egg Tacos.
I've seen two kinds of huevos rancheros recipes in this world: the traditional fried egg with tortillas and chile sauce, and eggs poached in a chile sauce served with cheese and tortillas. I was actually served the latter while on a cross country trip on the Green Tortoise bus. 30 international travelers, two hippy drivers and me for 3 weeks driving across the U.S. We had huevos rancheros for breakfast one morning at a hot spring resort in New Mexico. It's one of those food memories I will never forget.
This recipe is unlike either or those and is much simpler. Basically, it's an egg fried ON a tortilla with cheese and whatever toppings you like. Couldn't be simpler, couldn't be tastier! It's hard to translate this food concotion into to "recipe" because you can make it different each time. I've made it with one egg on the tortilla and two, I've made it with different cheeses and I've topped it with everything from refried beans and salsa to grilled zucchini and chutney. Give it a try!
1 or 2 corn tortillas
A small pinch of grated cheddar or jack, or crumbled cotija cheese
1 or 2 farm fresh eggs
Salt and pepper, fat for the pan
Toppings of your choice including seasoned whole or refried beans, cooked rice, more cheese, avocado, tomato, red or green salsa, sour cream, hot sauce, pickled chiles, lime wedges, grilled veggies, ketchup, chutney, chocolate sauce (OK, just kidding about that last one.. kind of).
Heat a well seasoned cast iron skillet and warm up the corn tortillas over medium heat. Allow one side to start getting browned and a little crispy. Use only as many tortillas as will fit in your pan with minimal overlap. For my Ikea skillet it's one. With a 10 inch skillet I could fit two.
Flip the tortilla once it is starting to brown and add a pinch of cheese to the top of the tortilla. Crack the egg directly onto the tortilla, trying to keep it mostly on the tortilla, and cook until the white is starting to set. Carefully flip the tortilla over and cook the egg to your liking. Serve with toppings!
As I made these tortillas I came across one major problem - keeping the eggs from sticking to the cast iron skillet. Non-stick pans would fix this problem but we don't use those kinds of pans here at Real Food, My Way. (For an explanation of why and healthy alternatives check out this article this article from Mercola, this one from Tuberose.com, this one from Marks Daily Apples, or even this article that was front page of the Oregonian newspaper FoodDay section recently.) A very well seasoned cast iron skillet is clearly the answer, but you don't always have that as well. I tried using tons of butter, like I do when I scramble or fry eggs normally, but the tortilla kind of sucked all the butter up. Once I did successfully lift up the tortilla, melt some butter under it and flip the egg into the melted butter without spilling egg white all over the pan. Just note, this is a recipe to make one a day your cast iron seems to be cooperating.
This recipe is so easy, so tasty and so variable. I am not joking when I say I made it for five meals in a row and never got bored. Thanks, blog-o-sphere!
For more great recipes and tips from the blog-o-sphere, check out Real Food Wednesday!