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Tortillas benedict ... and other Mexican twists with eggs.

Versatile eggs acquire a Mexican accent in these brunch entrees. Paired with childies, crisp tortillas, back beans, and other ingredients, they're a falvorful departure from traditional fare.

In a Latin variation on eggs Benedict, flaky golden tortilla baskets become a showcase for poached eggs resting on crisp, spicy chorizo. Hollandaise seasoned with red chili adds flavo and color.

Instead of ranch-tyle eggs with hashed brown potatoes and bacon, try serving eggs on bacon-flavored refried black beans, accompanied with refried black beans, accompanies with fried plantains (cooking bananas) and puffy sopapillas.

The third recipe is a Mexican-style rarebit. Eggs stirred into melted cheese make a creamy sauce to spoon over crisp tortilla strips. Tomatillos and chili go on top.

Some presentations have several elements, but the recpes break into easily managed make-ahead steps.

Well-supplied supermarkets and Mexican grocery stores carry most of the authentic ingredients such as the tomatillos, plantains, dried chilies, and canned black beans. Or use the alternatives given.

Eggs Tijuana 1 pound chorizo 6 tortilla baskets (recipe follows) 2 cups finely shredded iceberg lettuce 6 poached eggs (directions follow) Chili hollandaise (recipe follows) Cilantro sprigs

Remove casings from chorizo. Crumble meat into a 10- to 12-inch frying pan and cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until browned and crisp. Drain on paper towels; keep warm.

Set each tortilla basket on a dinner plate. Place an equal amount of lettuce in the bottom of each basket. Top with an equal amount of chorizo, a poached egg, and about 2 tablespoons of the chili hollandaise. Granish with cilantro. Serves 6.

Tortilla baskets. To make a form for the tortilla baskets, remove both ends from an empty 2-1/2- to 3-inch-diameter can (such as used for soup or tomatoes).

In a deep 3-to 4-quart pan, bring 2 inches salad oil to 350 deg. on a thermometer. Lay a flour tortilla (about 8-in. diameter; you'll need 6 tortillas) on oil; cook just until soft. Flip over and, holding one end of can with tongs, immediately set other end of can in center of tortilla and push it down into the oil. As the tortilla begins to crisp and hold its shape, lift out can, gently pushing down on tortilla with a spoon to help separate can from tortilla.

Continue frying, turning, until tortilla is crisp and golden on all sides, 1-1/2 to 2 minutes. Set fried basket on paper towels to drain. (If made ahead, store airtight at room temperature up to 1 day. To reheat, place in a single layer on baking sheets and bake, uncovered, in a 350 deg. oven until warm, 2 to 3 minutes.) Makes 6.

Poached eggs. Heat-set 6 large eggs in the shell by immersing them, one at a time, in rapidly boiling water for exactly 8 seconds. Lift out and set aside.

Fill a 10- to 12-inch frying pan with about 1-1/2 inches of water. Add 1 teaspoon white vinegar and heat until bubbles form on pan bottom, with an occasional one popping to top. Break each egg into the water, keeping eggs slightly apart. Cook until eggs are set to your liking (poke yolks genltly to check firmness). For soft yolks and firm whites, all 3 to 4 minutes.

with a slotted spoon, lift eggs from hot water. To use eggs at once, drain briefly on paper towel. (If made ahead, immerse poached eggs in ice water as soon as you lift them from the hot water. Cover and chill for as long as 24 hours. To reheat, transfer eggs to a bowl of very hot tap water and let stand until eggs are hot to touch, about 5 to 10 minutes.) Makes 6. Chili hollandaise. Wipe dust off 1 large (5- to 6-in.-long) dried California, New Mexico, or ancho chili. Place in a pie or cake pan and bake in a 400 deg. oven just until chili smells toasted, 2 to 3 minutes (watch closely; chilies scorch easily). When cool enough to handle, remove stems and seeds. Crumble into small pieces and place in a blender. Whirl until powdery. (Or omit whole chili and use 2 teaspoons chili powder.)

Add 1 tablespoon hot water, 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin, 2 teaspoons lemon juice, and 1 large egg yolk; whirl until smooth. With blender on his speed, add 1/2 cup (1/4 lb.) hot melted butter or margarine in a thin, steady stream.

Serve hot or at room temperature. (If made ahead, cover and chill up to 1 week. Bring to room temperature before reheating. To reheat, set container in hot tap water; stir until smooth and warm.) Makes about 3/4 cup.

Eggs with Black Beans and Plantains Sopapillas (recipe follows) Fried plantains (recipe follows) 1/4 to 1/3 cup butter or margarine 8 large eggs Salt and pepper Refried black beans (recipe follows) 1/3 cup crumbled queso cotija or grated parmesan 4 small limes, cut in half 8 to 16 radishes Honey

Cut and pat out dough for sopapillas; let rise while frying plantains.

Melt 2 to 3 tablespoons butter in each of two 10- to 12-inch frying pans over low heat. Crack 4 eggs into butter in each pan; cook until softly set, or set as you like. On 8 warm dinner plates, place an equal portion of beans. Top each portion with 1 softly fried egg; sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste. Place fried plantain slices alongside, sprinkling with cheese. Offer lime halves to squeeze over bananas. Garnish plates with radishes. Serve with sopapillas and honey. Makes 8 servings.

Sopapillas. Thaw 1 loaf (1 lb.) frozen wheat or white bread dough. Cut into 8 equal-size pieces. With floured hands, pat dough into 1/4-inch-thick pieces; let rise uncovered, on a flat surface, until puffy, 15 to 20 minutes. Use the same pan and salad oil used to fry plantains (see following). Heat oil to 350 deg. on a thermometer. Drop dough, 2 pieces at a time, into oil. Cook dough, turning, until deep golden, 4 to 5 minutes. Lift from oil and keep warm with plantains while frying remaining dough. Serve hot. (If sopapillas are made ahead, cool, store airtight at room temperature up to overnight, or freeze. To reheat--thaw if frozen--place in a single layer on a pan in a 350 deg. over until hot, 3 to 5 minutes.) Makes 8.

Fried plantains. Peel 3 large ripe plantains (skins will be almost black), or firm, green-tipped bananas. Cut in 1/4-inch-thick diagonal slices. In a 3- to 4-quart pan, heat about 1 inch salad oil to 375 deg. on a thermometer. Drop plantains in oil, about 1/3 at a time. Fry until lightly browned, 2 to 3 minutes. Lift from oil and place on a baking sheet lined with paper towels; keep warm in a 150 deg. oven. Fry remaining plantains. Serves 8.

Refried beans. In a 3- to 4- quart pan, cook 12 slices (about 3/4 lb.) bacon, cut into 1/2-inch-wide pieces, until lightly browned; stir often. Add 2 large onions, chopped; cook until limp, stirring often. Drain 4 cans (about 1 lb. each) black beans, reserving about 1/2 cup liquid (or use 1 quart cooked dry black beans). Mash beans with a heavy spoon or potato masher. Cook over low heat, stirring often, until hot. If mixture is dry, add 1/3 to 1/2 cup reserved bean liquid or regular-strength chicken broth. Add salt to taste. (If made ahead, cool, cover, and chill. To reheat, stir over low heat, adding more liquid if needed.) Makes 8 servings.

Mexican Eggs with Cheese (Huevos con Queso) Tortilla strips (recipe follows) 3 tablespoons butter or margarine 1 small onion, minced 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour 1/2 cup sour cream 1-1/2 cups (6 oz.) shredded jack cheese 1-1/2 cup (6 oz.) shredded cheddar cheese 6 large eggs, lightly beaten 1/2 cup diced tomatoes 1 large tomatillo, husk removed, and chopped (about 1/2 cup), optional 1/3 cup seeded and minced mild green chili (such as Anaheim or California) 2 whole tomatoes, cut into wedges

Place equal amounts of tortilla strips on 6 dinner plates. Keep warm in a 150 deg. oven. In a 10- to 12-inch frying pan, melt butter over low heat. Add onion and cumin; stir occasionally until onion is limp. Mix in flour; cook until bubbly. Remove from heat and blend in sour cream. Stir over low heat until smooth and bubbly. And cheeses, stirring until they melt. Stir beaten eggs into melted cheese. Cook, stirring, just until eggs look smooth and creamy or are softely set and mixture looks like soft scrambled eggs (texture coarsens with longer cooking). At once, spoon sauce over tortilla strips. Sprinkle with diced tomatoes, chopped tomatillo, and chilies; garnish with tomato wedges. Serves 6.

Tortilla strips. Stack 16 to 18 corn tortillas (6 to 7 in.) and cut into 1/8-inch-wide strips about 3 inches long. In a 3- to 4- quart pan, heat about 1 inch salad oil until it reaches 375 deg. on a thermometer. Fry a handful of strips at a time, stirring often, until crisp and lightly browned, about 1 minute. Lift out, and drain on paper towels. Sprinkle with salt. If make ahead, store airtight up to overnight. Serves 6.
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Copyright 1985 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:recipes
Date:Jun 1, 1985
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