January 31, 2005

what to eat, #3

Migas always make me think of this weekend in late October 2002. It was the first weekend of a really wonderful relationship, and we made migas that Sunday morning and talked about food. Migas make their own good memories, though. They're pieces of fried tortilla scrambled with eggs and served with whatever you like. They're a Tex-Mex breakfast food, but I've been known to eat them whenever and wherever the fancy strikes, because they're easy, filling, and delicious.

one small corn tortilla (some recipes call for tortilla chips; because I usually have flour tortillas on hand, I often use just over half of one of those, which is absolutely not traditional)
fat of some kind - my preference order goes butter, neutral (canola, corn, etc) oil, olive oil
2 or 3 eggs, depending on how hungry you are
cream or milk
hot pepper (ideally a bit of jalapeño, but cayenne, hot pepper flakes, and black pepper are all fine)
at least one more tortilla
embellishments: onions, mushrooms, other veggies, guacamole, salsa, chopped tomatoes

Heat a scant tablespoon of fat in a skillet until the butter foams or the oil is warm; tear the tortilla in pieces - an inch square is a good size, but they can be rough - and throw them in. Stir to make sure they all get coated in fat, then cook over medium-high heat while you do the other stuff. Check regularly to make sure they don't burn. If there's not enough fat, add a little more.

Break the eggs into a glass or jar and add a little cream or milk. It helps keep them soft and custardy when cooked. Add a pinch of salt, the minced jalapeño or hot pepper flakes, and whisk it all together with a fork until it's pretty uniform. Check the skillet: the tortilla pieces should be toasty-looking. Pour in the eggs, and immediately take the heat way down, to just above low. Stir everything together, and cook the way you would cook scrambled eggs. I like my eggs custardy, so I keep it on low heat and stir periodically but not all the time. Not stirring all the time lets big soft curds set up. At the end I stir a lot. Make sure you scrape the bottom of the skillet pretty often, or you'll have a mess of burned eggs at the bottom of your migas pan.

Serve with embellishments and another tortilla, heated briefly in a warm oven or on another skillet.1 Tear off pieces of your tortilla and use them to scoop up guacamole and migas. Mmmmmm.

If you're using onions, mushrooms, or other vegetables that you want to cook, you should throw them into the skillet with the tortilla pieces, and before the egg. This is also a good time to add garlic or other seasonings that do better with a little cooking. Onions always go in first, and cook til they're translucent before anything else goes in.

1. It really is worth heating it up.

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