Wednesday, March 11, 2009

migas with tomato-chipotle coulis

migas!

One of the chefs I was most excited to meet at last week’s Bahamas-fest was Sue Torres, the talent behind two of my favorite places to eat in my neighborhood, Rocking Horse (she’s no longer there, but was the one who put their stepped-up Mexican menu on the map) and Sueños (her current, inordinately delicious hidden-away new-Mexican restaurant, replete with a designated tortilla cook). Sure enough, her demo was totally packed and I have her mussel recipe still waiting for me to give it a spin at home, however, when I got home from a week of pork belly and fois gras and four to seven course meals, what I really wanted was something simple.

corn tortillas, wedgesmaking tortilla chipsshameful winter tomatoeswhisking eggscrisping the chorizotomato-chipotle coulis

So I hunted around and hunted around — look, I don’t even want to admit how long I did. I seem to be going through a phase of more extreme than usual pickiness coupled with laziness so basically I was looking for a dinner that took 20 minutes or less to cook and was made of magic — and le voila, Torres’ migas recipe crossed my browser and dinner was, at once, decided.

tortilla chips

As you’ve might have noticed, we’re big fans of breakfast-for-dinner around here. Since neither of us gets a nice plate of scrambled eggs and toast for breakfast most days of the week (more like a bowl of cereal or a cup of coffee grabbed on the way from the subway station!), we welcome the comfort any time of day. Plus, when it comes to budget-friendly meals, you really can’t beat the humble egg and tortillas.

eggs, chorizo and tortilla chips

Sue Torres’ Migas (Mexican-Style Breakfast)
Adapted from Sueños Restaurant, NYC

Migas is Spanish for “crumbs” and the dish is one of those Tex-Mex staples thats a hangover great with oil-crisped tortillas, onions, tomatoes, hot peppers and whatever else you want to serve it with — cheese (goat cheese would be especially awesome), refried beans, warmed tortillas, home fries, salsas and hot sauces. There are probably about as many ways to make it as there are people who eat it for breakfast, and I’d wager that nobody actually uses a recipe for them but hey, I’m a gringo. And I really like Torres’ cooking.

Making your own tortilla chips is not a requirement but the thought of crushing Tostitos into my dinner seemed all wrong. I simply cut up some thick corn tortillas and fried them in a 1/2-inch of bubbling flavorless oil until they were golden on both sides, drained them well and quickly salted them. And then tried not to finish them before dinner.

Lastly, it’s worth noting that the coulis seems to be a real staple in Torres’ cooking. It’s used in her mussel broth, it’s ladled over entrees or puddled beneath them. If you end up with extra, have fun with it.

Serves 4

Tomato-Chipotle Coulis

2 large, round tomatoes or best available
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 white or Spanish onion, minced (Torres says the white onion is more commonly used in Mexico)
1 chipotle en adobo, from a can (I used half of one and thought it had a plenty-big kick, you can always start with a quarter and add more if desired)
Kosher or sea salt to taste

Puree all of the above in a blender jar. Heat a sauce pan over high heat. Add oil to coat. Once the oil it hot, add the sauce. Cook for 15 minutes or so and season to taste.

Demonstration tip: Torres said that if you ever end up with a sauce too spicy, you can add a splash of cream to cool it off.

Migas
2 links Mexican or Spanish chorizo, removed from casing, diced or coarsely chopped
4 tablespoons oil (a mixture of corn and olive oil works best)
8 eggs, lightly beaten
20 corn tortilla chips, preferably fresh
Fresh cilantro for garnish

First, cook the chorizo. Heat a medium-sized stainless steel saucepan over medium-high heat and add two tablespoons of oil. Add the chorizo and cook, stirring frequently, until the chorizo is golden and cooked through, about ten minutes. Add the eggs and after a minute, the chips. Use a wooden spoon to crush the chips as you stir to cook the eggs. Cook for about five minutes (mine took less) or until almost cooked through.Remove from heat.

[Deb note: I'm a stickler about not overcooking/drying out scrambled eggs -- blech -- and always remove them from the heat while they still look a little damp; they continue cooking in their residual heat even once plated.]

Set up four plates for serving. Ladle some coulis in the bottom of each dish, top with some of the egg mixture and sprinkle with the cilantro. Serve immediately.


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