Thursday, August 21, 2008

What's for Breakfast

I have this weird relationship with eggs. I think I can't stand them and if you put a plate of scrambled eggs or an omelette in front of me, chances are good I'll have to walk away. On the other hand, there have been a few well loved but rather bizarre egg dishes in my life proving that I don't hate eggs, I just can't deal with them in their simplest forms.

My dad used to poach eggs in milk and serve them over shredded wheat with lots of butter, salt, and pepper. This used to horrify my husband, but now he's a convert as there's nothing better on a cold morning.

In college I frequently made and ate a dish I called SPEGS (slimy potato egg stuff) which involved cracking an egg or two over home fries with cheese and onions and was absolutely delicious as long as the egg wasn't too cooked, hence the slimy part. I know...weird.

When I was pregnant with my second child, a neighbor kept us well supplied with fresh eggs. I mostly avoided them until it occurred to me to hard boil them and make them into into tacos topped with liberal dollops of Mrs. Renfro's green salsa. This I never converted my husband to--he remains horrified to this day. However I once ate a classic dish of hard boiled eggs wrapped in tortillas in Yucatan so I wasn't not completely off base though I imagine no self-respecting Yucateco would have touched my crazy pregnant version.

Lately, in my ongoing attempt to eat more protein, I'm hitting the eggs again. Eggs can give me the same problem that nearly all meats do. I'm not really opposed to eating either, but the smell of them cooking tends to leave me too nauseated to think about eating. Aren't I just about the craziest person ever?

Anyway, the trick for me is to hide the eggs as much as possible. Lately I've been making a big mess in a skillet that has so much happening it's hard to even notice the eggs. I think the original inspiration for this dish came from Joe Esparza who, in the early days of his very successful restaurant, would make migas for me and it was an astounding breakfast. There's a great post here that goes into the nuances of various torn tortilla dishes should you care to dig deeper. We just tend to call the dish tortilla eggs.

My quickie version is rarely the same from one time to the next though corn tortillas, eggs, chiles, and cheese are all required components. Sometimes I like it on the mild side but lately smoky ground chipotle is making me very happy. Late summer additions have included diced zucchini and corn kernels. Though no real recipe is required for a seat-of-your-pants dish like this, my best approximation is here.

This dish has so much going on that the eggs pretty well get lost for me but the explosion of flavors and textures is spectacular. I'm sure you'll find a way to make tortilla eggs your own.

1 comment:

Colleen said...

Though I don't share your odd relationship with eggs (and I *must* try the poached eggs over wheat, I would highly suggest trying "egg curry" (I did give you my favorite Indian cookbook, right?). I would also highly recommend "boolji", which is very simply sauteed onions with fresh tomato and green chilis with scrambled eggs and tons of fresh coriander mixed in at the last moment (maybe do it like tortilla eggs but with chapatis?), eaten with toast it is heaven.

~Colleen (Queen of ()'s)