Eggs Migas: A Humble Food Offering, still sheltering June 4, 2020

If Ferran Adrià’s of El Bulli restaurant fame can publish his Eggs and Potato Chip Tortilla recipe in a cookbook, I can certainly write about Eggs Migas in this blog. The dish is famous in my family only because I never made it for anyone before a few years ago. Yet I have been preparing this “tortilla hash” since the 1970s. Only decades later did I learn there was a name for it in Mexican cuisine: Migas, with as many variations as there are households or cooks.

My guilty late-night-comfort-food came about in the typical “what’s in my fridge” way of many recipes. If you search the internet, my method may seem both simplified (I don’t go overboard on a variety of ingredients), and fussy (how I handle the tortillas separately before combining them with the eggs). I have some basic tenets upon which I base my choices.

1. If you have never eaten a warm, freshly prepared corn tortilla spread with soft, salted butter—then you won’t understand why I insist on using both olive oil and butter in my pan.

2. I did not grow up eating authentic Mexican cheeses. They did not sell them at the military commissary. I discovered Monterey Jack cheese when my sister married a marine officer and moved to San Diego. I am never giving it up!

3. Soft-scrambled eggs hold a higher culinary standing than any other food in my home. They can’t be greasy. They can’t be tough or show any browning. They MUST be soft.

4. I limit my toppings so I can taste the tortillas, the eggs, and the cheese. Such a lovely combination of textures and flavors, why complicate it?

5. I am very picky about my salsa or taco sauce. As you have every right to be about yours. But here’s the thing, it needs to have a fresh, uncomplicated flavor. Too many ingredients, see above. And too spicy, see above as well.

6. I am one of the unfortunate 4 or 5 percent of the population for whom fresh cilantro tastes like someone slathered my tongue with soap. It’s a real thing. No cilantro for me. Feel free to shower your version with it.

Feed a crowd or just your own in-need-of-comfort self. You deserve it!

Eggs Migas

(serves two)

Ingredients:

4 eggs at room temperature

2 TB heavy cream

3-4 corn tortillas, cut each tortilla in half and then into 1 inch wide strips (Do not use thick, homemade tortillas or dried out tortillas. They should still be fresh enough to be pliable.)

Olive oil, as needed

Butter, as needed (if you use salted butter, then adjust how much salt you use in the rest of the dish)

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

½ cup (combined) or more freshly grated Monterey Jack and medium sharp cheddar cheese (do not use pre-grated, packaged, cheese blend, and please resist anything marked “Mexican cheese blend” or “taco cheese blend.”)

Toppings: sour cream and salsa or taco sauce of your choice

Method:

  1. Melt 1 TB butter in 1 TB olive oil in an 8-10 inch non-stick skillet until the butter begins to bubble, but not brown. Add tortillas strips and cook (adjust heat as needed) until they absorb most of the butter and oil and get a little chewy, but not brown or crisp. Sprinkle the tortillas with a bit of salt and pepper. Remove the tortillas from pan and wipe out excess butter and oil. Set tortillas aside for adding back later.
  2. Break eggs into a bowl and whisk with cream until light in color and well combined. Add a pinch of salt and some black pepper.
  3. Melt 1 TB butter in 1 TB olive oil until butter is melted and bubbly, but not browning (turn down the heat once it reaches the bubbly point). Add eggs and swirl and lift and flip with a rubber spatula so that the eggs stay light and airy. Keep them moving so they don’t brown or become flat and firm. When eggs are about halfway cooked, stir in the tortillas, lifting and turning gently. When eggs are mostly cooked, turn off the heat and add the cheese, lifting and folding gently. Let eggs sit in the pan while the cheese melts.
  4. Serve in shallow bowls and garnish with sour cream and salsa or taco sauce and any other garnishes of your choosing.

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