Huevos rancheros, this way and that
September 25, 2011 § 2 Comments
This is the season of tomatoes and peppers. It’s not in mid-summer on the 4th of July like so many of us want to think (and the same goes for watermelon). In Colorado, late summer and early fall is their time. At the farm we are checking the loaded tomato plants almost every day, and harvesting all colors and sizes of heirloom varieties. I come home with the split ones, or the ones too ripe to sell.
My last roommate lived for several years in Texas, so she gets credit for introducing me to huevos rancheros. After she ditched me to return to The Lone Star State, though, I kind of forgot about making them. Scrounging hungrily through the kitchen several weeks ago, I rediscovered a huge stack of yellow corn tortilla shells. I also had some ends of cheese in the fridge. And eggs. A few peppers on the counter. And oh so many tomatoes! Dinner practically made itself.
So one of my new favorite things is to see what kinds of variations I can make with a base of a lightly fried corn tortilla and a sunny-side-up or over-easy egg or two. You don’t have to follow a recipe; you just look at what you have and mix and match. What do you like? What do you think will taste good to you, on this particular day?
Sometimes I stick with tradition and smother everything in salsa. Often, instead, I saute whatever vegetables I have on hand and spill them overtop, or tuck them off to one side. (Grilled veggies could also be awesome here, if you are lucky enough to have a grill!) Sometimes I add refried beans, extra cheese, sour cream, or fresh slices of tomato and pepper. Almost always I layer something between the tortilla and the egg – arugula, Swiss chard, or a few leaves of basil – along with some grated cheese. (Cheddar is good. Gruyere is better.) Arugula is a definite yes, when I can get it, with its bite so bitter-tangy through the egg and cheese.
If you’re trying to make sure you eat enough greens, you can just put them underneath everything else. Line your plate with romaine, buttercrunch, or rainbow chard. You might even use kale or collards or beet greens if you steam them for awhile first. When you’ve layered and arranged everything as you please, then dig in! And the pretty presentation should turn into a delicious mess. The warm egg yoke and the crispy tortilla and all the other flavors running together make it easy to eat your nutrients. And that, I find, is always a good thing.