Serious Eats

Breakfast Tacos with Spinach, Egg, and Crispy Bacon

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[Photographs: J. Kenji Lopez-Alt]

I've gone on record in the past about my aversions both general and specific to breakfast tacos. Generally, I feel that those available in all but a handful of restaurants and stands are prepared poorly. Specifically, it's the dry, overcooked eggs favored in their preparation.

Luckily, at home there's no need to put up with that. We can cook our eggs as moist or as dry as we damn well please and nobody will tell us we're doing it wrong. Actually, if you're my wife, there's a good chance that somebody will tell you you're doing it wrong, but as I've explained to her, changing me and my hyper-prescriptivist outlook on food is her own cross to bear.

I spent a good few days playing with eggs, tortillas, salsas, and various vegetables and meats until I came up with a trio of breakfast tacos that I'd happily eat after each and every overly zealous night out, which I'll be sharing over the next couple days. First up: Eggs with spinach and bacon.

It's not exactly the most "Mexican" of combinations,* but it's a delicious one. I start by crisping up bacon in a skillet before removing them and leaving the fat behind. To that, I add some garlic and spinach and cook it down until the liquid has evaporated.

*I'm not sure why I used those "quotation" marks there.

For the eggs, I like to think of them almost as a sauce for the spinach, something to enrich the taco and keep it nice and juicy. The goal here is creamy, soft, tender curds, not fluffy and dry. To get there, the key is moderate heat to allow the egg proteins to gently set without causing too much evaporation. Cook the eggs too hot, and the violent expansion of water vapor as they hit the pan will cause them to fluff up, just like a pizza crust in a hot oven.

One of the big issues I have with breakfast tacos is that their ingredients are not particularly good at absorbing salsa. To solve this issue, I like to spread the salsa directly on the tortilla before topping it with the fillings, passing more salsa and lime wedges tableside.

If you're the kind of person who likes the well-done, browned eggs that are standard fare in breakfast tacos, then move along—these are not the tacos you are looking for. For the rest of you, eat up!

About the author: J. Kenji Lopez-Alt is the Chief Creative Officer of Serious Eats where he likes to explore the science of home cooking in his weekly column The Food Lab. You can follow him at @thefoodlab on Twitter, or at The Food Lab on Facebook.

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