My huevos rancheros is a pretty classic version made from very common ingredients and just happens to taste like a million bucks. For a leaner version, char the tortilla over an open flame of a gas burner (or you can warm it between sheets of damp paper towels in the microwave) and then fill it with the browned vegetables, tomatoes, and scrambled eggs instead of fried. Whatever you do, don’t forget the salsa or hot sauce, depending on what squeals your wheels.
Dollars to Donuts: Comfort Food and Kitchen Wisdom from Route 66's Landmark Rock Cafe by Dawn Welch and Raquel Pelzel (Rodale Books); copyright 2009
|3-4 tablespoons canola or vegetable oil||2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh cilantro|
|4 corn tortillas (4"-6")||2 teaspoons chili powder|
|1 medium yellow onion, finely chopped||1/4 teaspoon ground cumin|
|1 large red or green bell pepper, seeded, ribbed, and thinly sliced||2 tablespoons unsalted butter|
|2 garlic cloves, finely minced or pressed through a garlic press||8 large eggs|
|1/2 teaspoon salt||1 cup grated Mexican Blend cheese|
|Freshly ground black pepper||Hot sauce or salsa, for serving|
|One 14 1/2-ounce can diced tomatoes, with juices|
Heat the oven to 250°F. Warm 3 tablespoons of oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add a tortilla and fry until crispy and brown on each side. Transfer it to a paper towel–lined plate (an opened-up brown paper bag works too) to drain, and then put it on a rimmed baking sheet and place in the oven to stay warm. Repeat with the remaining tortillas, reducing the heat and adding more oil if necessary.
Add the onion, bell pepper, garlic, salt, and black pepper to the same skillet you used for the tortillas, cooking them until the onion and pepper soften and the garlic is fragrant, 6 to 8 minutes. Stir in the tomatoes, cilantro, chili powder, and cumin, bring to a strong simmer, reduce the heat to medium-low, and cook until the tomatoes begin to break up, about 5 minutes.
Melt 1 tablespoon of the butter in a nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Crack 4 eggs into the pan, sprinkle with salt and pepper, cover the pan, and fry until the white is opaque, about 3 minutes.
Place the tortillas on 4 plates. Slide 2 eggs onto 2 of the tortillas and top each of the 2 plates with a quarter of the tomato mixture and some cheese. Serve the first 2 portions immediately while you fry up the second batch of eggs.
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