Saturday, September 28, 2013


This is another of those look-how-far-I’ve-come posts, because I used to detest the idea of eggs with salsa. Like, it actually turned my stomach. Perhaps because I grew up in the Midwest in the 1980s, where the salsa was Pace and the eggs were most likely dry and overcooked. (As I’ve previously mentioned, I hated corn tortillas, too.) I don’t know whether to credit my maturing palate or expanding horizons, but after all these years I finally Get It where huevos rancheros and breakfast tacos/quesadillas/burritos are concerned. First I discovered good tortillas and salsa, and then I became downright egg-obsessed, and then finally I started craving them all together.

I’d been wanting to try my hand at migas or chilaquiles for a while, since I always seem to have leftover corn tortillas lurking in the fridge, and then one day I saw this variation on the concept at Budget Bytes, which throws in enough black beans and salsa and cilantro to totally qualify as dinner in my book (in fact, you’ll notice I’ve dropped the “breakfast” part of the title). The recipe calls for corn chips, but I decided to take things up a notch and bake my own from those troublesome spare tortillas. I’m sure it’s good enough with storebought corn chips, and it does feel kind of silly to spend 20 minutes hardening up some tortillas only to turn around and soften them up again with salsa and eggs and cheese the next moment, but I love the flavor and chewy (rather than soggy) texture the homemade chips impart.

But then, I love everything about this recipe. Let’s face it, it’s basically the lovechild of scrambled eggs and nachos. It’s warm and homey and soft and cheesy, but not heavy, and chock-full enough of protein to make a satisfying meal. It’s incredibly quick and easy, it’s simple but flavorful, I usually have the ingredients on hand already, and it makes surprisingly good leftovers. Because the eggs are scrambled slowly and carefully, they don’t dry out or toughen up, even when reheated the next day. It’s become my comfort-food default, and I’ve probably cooked it half a dozen times in the few months since I first tried it. I’ve made it as lazy single-lady fare while A was out of town, eating the leftovers all week long. I’ve made it just after returning from vacation, when the fridge was empty and I only had the time and energy to pick up a few things at the store. I’ve made it when I’m too stressed out for anything else, when I have salsa or tortillas to use up (and once, with leftover tomatillo salsa verde, an excellent variation), or just when I’m hungry for it, which seems to be often. (I’m actually making it for dinner tonight, in about an hour.) I don’t want to jinx anything, but I’m not sure I could ever get tired of it. Who knew that eggs plus salsa could someday become one of my favorite foods?

6 large eggs
2 tablespoons butter
1 15-ounce can black beans, drained and rinsed
2-3 cups tortilla chips (I recommend baking your own)
1 cup salsa, plus extra for serving if desired
1 cup shredded cheddar or pepper Jack cheese
1 generous handful chopped fresh cilantro
2 or 3 scallions, sliced
Salt and pepper to taste

1. Crack the eggs into a large bowl and lightly whisk them.

2. Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium-low heat. Pour in the eggs and let them cook slowly. As the bottom layer begins to set, use a spatula to drag the outside edges in toward the center, allowing the uncooked egg to run back into the empty space. Continue to gently move the eggs around in the skillet in this manner until they are about 75 percent set; they should still be moist, but in large pieces. (They will continue to cook as you add other ingredients, so make sure not to overcook them now.) Season the eggs with salt and pepper to taste.

3. Add the drained beans and tortilla chips to the skillet. Gently fold them into the eggs, breaking the tortilla strips into smaller pieces as you go. Spoon one cup of salsa over top of the egg mixture and then sprinkle the shredded cheese over top.

4. Place a lid on the skillet and turn the heat up to medium. Allow the skillet to heat for 5 minutes, or until mostly heated through. Remove the lid and gently fold the ingredients in the skillet, so that the cheese gets a little mixed in and melts slightly. Sprinkle the cilantro and scallions over the top, and serve with additional salsa if desired.

Serves: 4
Time: 30 minutes
Leftover potential: Good.

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