Mexican Style Sunnyside Up Eggs and Salsa
When you need a hearty breakfast, you can’t beat authentic huevos rancheros, a dish prepared with two sunnyside up eggs on fried tortillas covered in a spicy tomato salsa with refried beans on the side. This dish is served throughout Mexico, and for good reason. It’s delicious! The name huevos rancheros translates as “ranchers eggs.” When preparing, keep it simple and traditional. You don’t need to fancy-it-up with toppings like sour cream, chopped tomatoes, green onions or avocado. You can if you want, but I might get a little bent out of shape. Each bite should be a balance of rich salsa, egg and corn tortilla. The other stuff just gets in the way.
You will need 4 eggs, 3 Roma (plum) tomatoes, 1 or 2 serrano chiles, a bit of white onion, a clove of garlic and some thyme. In Mexico, the salsa is made very hot. This recipe calls for 1 serrano chile which makes a milder salsa. Add 1 or 2 more chiles is you want it hot. You will probably already have all the ingredients necessary.
The first thing you need to do is prepare the salsa for the huevos rancheros. The salsa makes the dish. Bland salsa means bland eggs.
To make your salsa, roughly chop the vegetables and add them to the blender jar. You don’t need to seed the tomatoes or serrano chile. Add a couple of tablespoons of water and blend until smooth. At this point, it will have an unappealing pink color. But don’t worry, as it cooks it takes on a beautiful dark red color that looks spectacular on the plate.
Frying the salsa is an important step to developing the flavor of the salsa. Heat 1 tablespoon of cooking oil in a saucepan. Slowly pour the contents of your blender into the pan.
Be careful. The mixture tends to spatter when it hits the hot oil.
Simmer the salsa for about 10 minutes. When the salsa has developed a deep red color it is ready. If the salsa is too thin, simmer for a few minutes to thicken. If it is too thick, add water 1 tablespoon at a time until the desired consistency is reached. Add salt to taste.
2. Fry the Tortillas
While the salsa is simmering, fry the tortillas. You will fry them lightly for about 20 seconds per side in about 1/4 inch of medium hot cooking oil. You want to fry each tortilla until it is just becoming crispy on the edge but the tortilla remains pliable. The process of frying adds flavor to the tortilla and keeps it from getting mushy from absorbing the salsa and runny egg yolk.
Set aside the tortillas and cover them with a napkin to keep them warm while you prepare the eggs.
A note on tortillas – Better quality tortillas make for better huevos rancheros. This is a simple dish with very few ingredients. Quality matters. You should be able to taste the rich corn flavor of the tortilla. Avoid the corn tortillas that come in the plastic bags and are stocked on the grocery store shelves. They taste like cardboard and have preservatives in them. If you can’t buy any freshly made tortillas try making your own. Most grocery stores carry corn flour for preparing tortillas. Tortillas are simple to make. Just follow the instructions that are on the side of the package. If you don’t have a tortilla press you can use a rolling pin.
3. Cook Perfect Sunnyside Up Eggs
By cracking the eggs into a bowl before putting them into the frying pan you are less likely to break the yolk. You use the bowl to gently slide the eggs into the pan.
Heat the oil in a medium sized frying pan. Non-stick is best. You will use the same oil to fry the tortillas and the eggs.
Cook the eggs until the whites are just set. The yolk is supposed to remain runny. When you cut into the eggs on the plate, the yolk mixes with the salsa and creates an incredibly rich sauce. Note – If you are worried about eating eggs that aren’t cooked all the way through, you can cook the yolks until they are solid. The dish will still taste great. You lose a little of the visual element but you have peace of mind.
4. Plate the Dish
When your eggs are ready it is time to plate the dish.
Place 2 tortillas on your serving plate and with large spoonful of refried beans on the side.
Carefully place the eggs on the tortillas. You don’t want the yolks to break.
Gently spoon the warm salsa over the eggs being careful not to cover the yolks. The deep red salsa contrasts with the bright yellow egg yolks. You want the salsa to a little bit thick so it doesn’t run all over the plate.
Garnish the refried beans with three tortilla chips. You can sprinkle a bit of crumbled cheese on the beans if you like. Cotija cheese would go well.
Time to start cooking! Provecho!
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- 4 eggs
- 3 Roma tomatoes
- 1 serrano chile
- ¼ medium white onion
- 1 clove of garlic
- ½ teaspoon thyme
- ½ cup cooking oil + 1 tablespoon
- 2 or 3 tablespoons of water
- 4 corn tortillas
- Salt to taste
- Roughly chop the tomatoes, onion, garlic and serrano chile.
- Add to your blender jar.
- Add ½ teaspoon thyme to the blender jar.
- Add 2 tablespoons of water.
- Blend until smooth. About 1 minute.
- Heat 1 tablespoon of cooking oil in a saucepan to hot.
- Carefully, pour the contents of the blender into the saucepan with the hot oil. (Be careful, the liquid tends to spatter.)
- Simmer for about 10 minutes until the salsa is deep red in color and has thickened slightly.
- Salt to taste.
- Pour ½ cup of cooking oil into a medium sized frying pan. The oil should be about ¼ inch deep.
- Heat the oil to medium hot.
- Place the tortillas in the oil and fry for about 20 seconds on both sides. Fry them one at a time. Don't allow the tortilla to harden.
- Drain the tortillas of excess oil and set aside.
- SUNNY SIDE UP EGGS
- Use the same cooking oil that you used to fry the tortillas to cook the eggs. Maintain the oil medium hot.
- Add two eggs to the hot oil and slightly tilt the pan to one side so that the eggs set closely together.
- Cook until the white are just cooked through and the yolks are still runny.
- Place 2 tortillas on your serving plate and add a good sized spoonful of refried beans.
- Gently place the eggs on the tortillas.
- Spoon the warm spicy tomato salsa over the eggs.
- Garnish the beans with 3 tortilla chips.
- Serve immediately.
You do not need to remove the seeds and veins from the chile.
You do not need to seed or peel the tomatoes.
If the salsa is a little runny, simmer until it reaches the desired consistency.
High quality eggs make the dish even better. Try it with free-range eggs.
White onion is preferable but you can use yellow onion if that's what you have on hand.
You can substitute Mexican oregano for the thyme.