Saturday, December 23, 2006

Mexican Crumbs

At the very top of my food ladder is a dish called "Migas", a tortilla omelette? a stove top quiche? Nope, no comparison does it justice. It's a food idea all its own. Until you eat it, you will have no idea what you are missing. The word Migas is loosely translated from the Spanish as "crumbs" because it uses leftovers from tortilla meals the night before. I've tossed left over chili into this and it works. There are many regional recipes for this common-sense food idea, which start food wars in the way of chili and cornbread.

The important ingredient is authentic tortillas, (and I guarandamtee you won't find these in your corporate Supermarket. There you may find tortillas labeled "authentic"- your clue to run, don't walk, to a Mexican grocery store. Come on now, you can find one near you. They will be authentic when the only ingredients are: "corn, lime". Unless you have no choice, avoid packages with "cellulose gum, proprionic acid, benzoic acid, phosphoric acid, dextrose, guar gum and amylase". These will gum up the taste works.

Now the "corn, lime" packages will come in sets of 40 or 200, and you will find them on your shelves months afterwards. They feel a little stiff, but cook up even better and give up a kick-ass corn taste you'll never get from corporate tortillas.

I cut about 4 tortillas into strips "lengthwise" about 4 strips; sometimes I halve them. I select the oils depending on what I'm after. Mostly sesame, olive, coconut, or corn oil, or some mix. For breakfast stomachs I like to use the lighter sweeter oils, so I end up staying away from olive or corn.

As usual with stove top cooking, you want to vary the heat. Medium low, medium and low at various stages to slow or speed up cooking. Start at medium, fry the tortilla strips in oil until lightly golden but not crispy, about 2-3 minutes.

In a separate pan saute about 1 cup of finely diced mushrooms in a bit of oil and black pepper.

To the tortilla pan, add one medium diced red onion, or for a lighter onion, a bunch of shallots mixed with a bit of red, with two diced jalapenos, and saute for 2-3 minutes. Stir in two diced plum tomatoes (medium sized and if not plums, remove the watery pulp) soaked in a bit of soy sauce and cumin and some oregano if you'd like, and cook for a few more minutes. Mix gently.

This forms a really nice corn tortilla migas base I use for other dinner dishes, like adding stir fried vegetables, shredded chicken, hamburger, stir fried steak strips etc. But back to breakfast/brunch.

Add 3-4 eggs beaten, and cook, stirring occasionally, until eggs are almost set, add the sauteed mushrooms, then place about 1- 1/2 cups of jack cheese on top, cover and let sit on low until cheese is melted. Note, you can add diced avocado in lime in place of the 'shrooms.

I serve this with fresh avocado and/or sour cream and/or salsa, and it never fails to please. The lime treated corn cuts the egg taste. Left overs keep well either in the refrigerator or the freezer.


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