Why It Works
- Charred fresh tomatillos and green chiles replace red tomato and chiles for a hottier, tangier spin on traditional huevos rancheros.
- To keep things simple, fry up extra onion and garlic to use as a flavor base for the refried beans when making the salsa.
- Dipping the corn tortillas in water before heating them in a hot skillet allows them to steam as they char, giving them a nice toasty flavor while keeping them soft and pliant.
As I drove from New York down through Alabama, west across Texas from Austin to El Paso, through New Mexico and Arizona to LA, (all before coming back up to San Francisco), I noticed that the time that elapsed between each successive serving of eggs with salsa and tortillas grew steadily shorter. Let's call it the Huevos Rancheros Maxim, which states that the closer you are to Mexico, the more likely it is that you'll be having said huevos for breakfast.
This poses a problem when you start heading back north or east again and you've already acquired a taste for them. In my case, the solution is to just start cooking them for myself.
The most traditional huevos rancheros—a dish designed to fill you up and keep you going halfway through a hard day of manual farm work—is made with a red tomato- and chile-based salsa with beans served on the side. I prefer a version made with a hotter, tangier green salsa of tomatillos and hot green chiles (I used some leftover Hatch chiles I had from my trip through New Mexico, but poblanos or Anaheims work well, too). To make the salsa, I broil the tomatillos and chiles in the toaster oven until they're charred and puffed before puréeing them with sautéed onions and garlic flavored with cumin, lime juice, and cilantro.
While the vegetables broil, I make my refried bean base. To keep things simple, I fry up some extra onions and garlic with those destined for the salsa to use as the flavor base for my beans. You can boil dried beans, but canned beans work just fine in this application. All you've got to do is add them to the onion and garlic base, cook them down with a bit of water and a bay leaf, and mash them up into a rough purée with either a potato masher or a hand blender.
To serve, I dip corn tortillas in a bit of water and heat them up in a hot skillet. The water causes them to steam as they char, which gives them a nice toasty flavor while keeping them soft and pliant (check out this video for a more in-depth look at how to do this).
With the salsa and beans made and the tortillas warm, brunch is just a couple of fried eggs away. My wife says that this temporary West Coast transplant thing is really getting to me. I just ignore her and reach for the avocados.
How to Make Sunny-Side Up Fried Eggs
For the Salsa Verde (see notes):
4 medium tomatillos, split in half
1 poblano or Hatch chile
1 white onion, thinly sliced (about 1 cup)
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
4 medium cloves garlic, thinly sliced
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1/2 cup roughly chopped cilantro, plus more for garnish
2 limes, divided
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
For the Beans (see notes):
1 (15-ounce) can pinto beans drained and rinsed
1 bay leaf
6 soft corn tortillas
6 large eggs
1 avocado, sliced
For the Salsa Verde: Preheat broiler or toaster oven broiler to high. Place tomatillos cut side down on a foil-lined rimmed baking sheet along with poblano or Hatch chile. Broil until chile is blackened on one side, about 10 minute. Flip chile and continue broiling until blackened on second side, about 6 minutes longer. Transfer vegetables to a small bowl and cover tightly with foil. Let steam for 5 minutes.
Meanwhile, set aside 1/4 cup onion for garnish. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat until shimmering. Add remaining onion and garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened but not browned, about 4 minutes. Add cumin and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Remove from heat and transfer half of mixture to the bowl of a blender, food processor, or blending cup of a hand blender. (Leave remaining onions and garlic in the pot.)
Carefully peel chile (the skin should slip right off) and remove seeds. Add chile, tomatillos, cilantro, and 1 tablespoon juice from 1 lime to onion/garlic mixture in the blender. Blend until a rough purée is formed, adding water as necessary to thin to a sauce-like consistency. Season to taste with salt and pepper and set aside.
For the Beans: Add beans, 1/2 cup of water, and bay leaf to pot with remaining onion and garlic mixture. Cook, stirring occasionally, until simmering. Mash beans with a potato masher or with a hand blender until a chunky, thick consistency is reached. Season to taste with salt and pepper, cover, and keep warm.
To Serve: Heat a large non-stick or cast iron skillet over medium-high heat until hot. Working one or two tortillas at a time, dip tortilla in a bowl of cold water, place in skillet and cook without moving until lightly charred on first side, about 1 minute. Flip and cook on second side for 30 seconds. Transfer to a clean towel placed on top of a plate and fold towel around tortilla. Repeat with remaining tortillas, stacking them in the towel.
When ready to serve, place tortillas on warm serving platter or individual plates. Spread each tortilla with beans. Add remaining tablespoon oil to skillet and heat until shimmering. Add eggs and cook without moving until whites are set but yolk is still runny, about 3 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Transfer 1 egg to each tortillas and add salsa. Sprinkle with remaining onion slices and cilantro. Cut remaining lime into wedges. Serve eggs with lime wedges and avocado slices.
You can use your favorite brand of refried beans or green salsa in place of the homemade.
|Nutrition Facts (per serving)|
|Servings: 3 to 4|
|Amount per serving|
|% Daily Value*|
|Total Fat 22g||28%|
|Saturated Fat 4g||19%|
|Total Carbohydrate 54g||20%|
|Dietary Fiber 8g||28%|
|Total Sugars 9g|
|Vitamin C 49mg||243%|
|*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.|