When two people decide to get a divorce, it isn’t a sign that they “don’t understand” one another, but a sign that they have, at last, begun to.~ Helen Rowland
Just as J.Lo and Marc Anthony have decided to go their separate ways, so have my eggs in this version of the Mexican breakfast dish, Huevos Divorciados or Divorced Eggs. Or literally speaking, fried eggs on tortillas with two salsas. We call a meal of this proportion brunch, but in Mexico it is served for breakfast. Yes, the Mexicans do know how to start their day on a happy note!
I was struggling a bit for this month's International Incident Party theme, Mexican Breakfast. Unlike last month's 'Sichuan' theme, I don't eat Mexican food very often (not as much as Sichuan, anyway) and I've never tried making it at home. Outside of Mexico, I think I'd only dined at a proper Mexican restaurant 3 times in my entire life....it's terrible, I know.
Since Penny, who's the Party host, announced the Mexican-brekkie theme, I've trawled the Net for ideas and there certainly was plenty of inspiration. What I finally settled on was this, as it was a fairly safe bet - there are eggs, tortillas and salsa in it. And for good measure, I made refried beans from scratch, a first for me too.
What intrigued me most about this dish is that the two eggs are each topped with different salsas. One is fiery red, composed of plum tomatoes and red chillies. The other is vibrant green, containing tomatilloes (or physalis, which grow wildly in my garden) and coriander or cilantro. The tomatoes, tomatilloes, chillies and seasonings were roasted before they were blended and the roasting served to enhance the flavors of the salsas. I loved the way both salsas were the dominant components of the dish and determined the overall tone of the dish.
I fashioned some mini-tortillas out of whole wheat flour, and since I didn't have a tortilla press at home, I used a plate and my whole body weight to press down on the dough. You can see how flat the tortillas got after I was done squishing down on them with all my might... So satisfying, that process :-).
Okay, refried beans...these weren't supposed to be part of the dish but I just wanted to have a go at making them at home. I bought some black beans and after soaking and boiling them for several hours, I mashed them up with a potato masher. UH-OH. Why were the black bean kernels white, not black like in the photos? Someone please tell me how many types of black beans there are out there, so I know for sure that I got the wrong one and it wasn't due to my cooking technique?
The plated breakfast looked colorful and full of life, in fact it reminded me a little of the Mexican flag, with the red, white and green colors of the ingredients. I was so excited to photograph the whole thing that I managed to bust a yolk, making a mess on the red salsa side. But that's okay, a divorce is supposed to be messy anyway, isn't it?
The green salsa was most memorable for me and the refried beans also really surprised me with its tastiness despite looking like....well, not-very-pretty (I'll never judge a bean by its cover again!). Oh, I just had to include that purple, decorated gourd vessel in the above shot because that was the first souvenir I ever, ever bought from Mexico (a dozen years ago). Finally, I have a use for it!
Lastly, going back to my divorced eggs theme, I've chosen to end this post with a humorous but slightly disturbing video from Pink, singing "Please don't leave me". Indeedy.
Do check out the other Mexican breakfasts served up by the IIP participants by clicking on the thumbnails below.
Red and Green Salsas
1/2 lb plum tomatoes
1/2 lb fresh tomatillos, husks discarded and tomatillos rinsed
2 fresh jalapeño chillies (I used red chillies)
1 (1-inch) wedge of large white onion
2 garlic cloves
2 teaspoons salt
3 tablespoons chopped fresh coriander/cilantro
1/4 to 1/2 cup water
4 to 8 tablespoons vegetable oil
8 large eggs
8 (6 to 7-inch) flour or corn tortillas (recipe below)
Refried beans (recipe below)
1. For the salsas: Heat a (griddle or cast-iron skillet over moderate heat, then roast tomatoes, tomatillos, jalapeños, and onion, turning with tongs, until charred on all sides, 10 to 15 minutes. Core roasted tomatoes. Discard stems from jalapeños and discard half of seeds from each chilli.
2. For red salsa: Coarsely purée tomatoes, 1 jalapeño, 1 garlic clove, and 1 teaspoon salt in a blender or food processor, then transfer to a bowl.
3. For green salsa: Coarsely purée tomatillos, remaining jalapeño, remaining garlic clove, remaining teaspoon salt, cilantro, and 1/4 cup water (add more if needed for desired consistency), then transfer to a bowl.
4. Cook eggs: Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a small nonstick skillet over moderately low heat until hot. Gently break 2 eggs into a cup, keeping yolks intact, then pour into skillet and cook, covered, to desired doneness. Season with salt and pepper.
Fry tortillas while eggs cook. Make more eggs in same manner, adding oil as needed.
5. Fry tortillas: Preheat an ungreased griddle. Add tortilla and cook until it begins to puff with a few browning spots on the bottom. Flip and press down to release the air pockets. Cook for about 1 minute. Remove and serve.
6. To assemble dish: Put 2 tortillas on each plate, overlapping slightly, and top with 2 eggs. Spoon a different salsa over each egg. Serve with refried beans.p
Refried Black Beans
1 lb black beans
1-2 tablespoons minced garlic
1-2 tablespoons cummin powder
1tablespoon chilli powder (or less)
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 medium onions, diced
2 tablespoons butter
1. Empty a bag of black beans onto a tray and pick out any impurities like pebbles, etc. Rinse the beans in a colander. Then let them soak in a large pot overnight. Use plenty of water since the beans expand quite a bit.
2. Boil beans for about an hour or so, basically until they are soft (make sure to keep on adding water). Then add minced garlic, cumin, salt, pepper and chilli powder if you’re feeling daring (but not too much). Then let all that boil for another hour. You want the beans so soft that they are falling apart, it makes it easier to mash them later on.
3. After the boiling is complete, empty out most of the water, but not too much or else the beans get really dry. Make sure the bottom half of the beans are in water. Then mash the beans using a potato masher. A fork will also work if a potato masher is unavailable, but that takes a lot more work. The consistency of the beans shouldn’t be uniform—that only happens at food processing plants.
4. To re-fry beans, cover a very large pan with olive oil. Saute onions until fragrant, then reduce to a low heat. Add the beans to the sauteed onions. Mix in butter. Don’t re-fry for too long, it tends to dry out the beans. And don’t let them burn. Serve warm.
Whole Wheat or Corn Tortilla
Makes: 16-18 six-inch tortillas
3 cups whole wheat flour (or masa harina for corn tortilla)
1/3 cup vegetable oil, with extra for coating
1 teaspoon salt
3/4 - 1 cup warm water
1. Combine flour and salt in a bowl. Add vegetable oil and mix lightly. Begin adding the warm water and knead until you have a soft dough. Divide into equal pieces of 16-18 balls. Give the balls a light coating of additional vegetable oil. Cover and let rest for 15 minutes.
2. Roll out each ball on a floured surface, or press down with a plate.or tortilla press to get a more even circle. Use wax paper or plastic wrap in between each tortilla and stack for cooking. Preheat an ungreased griddle. Add tortilla and cook until it begins to puff with a few browning spots on the bottom. Flip and press down to release the air pockets. Cook for about 1 minute. Remove and serve.
3. Keep tortillas warm by wrapping in cloth. Can also be kept warm in the oven, reheated in the microwave or use a tortilla warming basket.
Have a relaxing Sunday!
Have a relaxing Sunday!