One great benefit of growing up in California (LA actually) and having a Hispanic mother is being exposed at an early age to Mexican food. From the time I was 5 it was my job to prepare the salsa for the family. We have always had tortillas in the house like most people have bread in theirs. Consequently dishes that call for salsa and tortillas are likely to be prepared often, as we cook with what is on hand. Huevos rancheros is one of those dishes. A classic Mexican breakfast, huevos rancheros are fried eggs served on hot corn tortillas and smothered in cooked salsa. (Made them for lunch today and I’m getting hungry all over again just thinking about them.) In our home “huevos” can mean eggs either scrambled or fried. When they’re fried the runny yolk mixes in with everything, the salsa, the tortillas. I love to take a piece of tortilla and dip it in the yolk and then the salsa. Aye aye aye, this is good.
The recipe is flexible, sometimes we use canned salsa and just add a few more chopped tomatoes and some chopped pickled jalapenos to make the sauce. Sometimes if we have some leftover refried beans, we'll spread some on the tortillas before topping them with the eggs and salsa. My mother has been known to add a pinch of sugar to the salsa sauce if she feels it's too acidic for her taste.
- Olive oil
- 1/2 medium onion, chopped (about a half cup)
- 1 15-ounce can whole tomatoes, preferably fire-roasted, if you can get it (or 1 -2 large fresh vine-ripened tomatoes, when in season)
- 1/2 6-ounce can diced green Anaheim chiles
- Chipotle chili powder, adobo sauce, or ground cumin to taste (optional)
- 4 corn tortillas
- 4 fresh eggs
- 2 Tbsp fresh cilantro, chopped (optional)
1 Make the sauce first by softening the onions in a little olive oil in a large skillet on medium heat. Once translucent, add the tomatoes and the juice the tomatoes are packed in. Break up the tomatoes with your fingers as you put them in the pan. If you are using fresh tomatoes, chop them first, then add. Note that fresh tomatoes will take longer to cook as canned tomatoes are already cooked to begin with. Add chopped green chilies. Add additional chili to taste, either chipotle chili powder, adobo sauce, regular chili powder, or even ground cumin. Bring to a simmer, reduce heat to low, and let simmer while you do the rest of the cooking, stirring occasionally. Reduce to warm after it has been simmering for 10 minutes. Add salt to taste if needed.
2 Prepare the tortillas. Heat the oven to a warm 150°F, place serving plates in the oven to keep warm. Heat a teaspoon of olive oil in a large non-stick skillet on medium high, coating the pan with the oil. One by one (or more if your pan is big enough) heat the tortillas in the pan, a minute or two on each side, until they are heated through, softened, and pockets of air bubble up inside of them. Then remove them and stack them on one of the warming plates in the oven to keep warm while you continue cooking the rest of the tortillas and the eggs.
3 Fry the eggs. Using the same skillet as was used for the tortillas, add a little butter to the pan, about two teaspoons for 4 eggs. Heat the pan on medium high heat. Crack 4 eggs into the skillet and cook for 3 to 4 minutes for runny yolks, more for firmer eggs.
To serve, spoon a little of the sauce onto a warmed plate. Top with a tortilla, then a fried egg. Top with more sauce, sprinkle with cilantro if desired. Serve either one or two eggs/tortillas per plate, depending on how much you want to eat. I'm a 2-egg 2 tortilla person myself.