Huevos rancheros—ranch-style eggs—are one of Mexico's most instantly recognizable breakfast dishes: a pair of fried eggs topped with a thick layer of spicy tomato sauce. It sounds rather simple, and it is. However, as with all recipes made with only a handful of ingredients, the treatment of each one is important.
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While some ranchero sauces (including the one my mother frequently makes) start with fresh, chopped tomatoes, others, like this recipe, add more depth by broiling them prior to turning them into sauce. Plum tomatoes, cut into 1-inch pieces in order to expose more flesh to the flame, along with serrano chilies are tossed with vegetable oil, salt, and pepper, and broiled until they're spotted with black. Don't be afraid to torch the ingredients—you want them to char a bit.
A quick few pulses in the food processor turns the tomato mixture into a chunky salsa-like blend. Here is where you should go easy, as you're not looking for your salsa ranchera to look like bloody Mary mix, but rather a thick, pulpy sauce. For additional texture as well as a hint of sweetness, finely chopped onions sautéed in oil are combined with the tomato-chili blend. The sauce is briefly simmered, just until it begins to thicken, and finished with cider vinegar to highlight the tomatoes' natural acidity. Fried eggs, especially those with a slightly crisp-edged white and a runny, velvety yolk, contrast this bold sauce that has an assertive bite, both in flavor and texture. Serve these eggs with charred corn tortillas to kicks-start your day.
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