If there’s one food trend of which I whole-heartedly approve, it’s the current fad for dirty food.
You can keep your dainty cupcakes, shove your delicate macaroons (well, um, no actually. I might hang onto them for dessert). Give me pulled pork slow-braised for hours in an oildrum smoker; sticky bourbon-glazed ribs requiring a bib and a caveman-like ease with finger licking; or slutty brownies (if you can get past the inherent misogyny of that word, They. Look. AWESOME.) packed with Oreos, peanut butter – and oh, go on then – bacon (because everything tastes better…). GIVE THEM TO ME NOW!
These huevos are, well, not quite in that league of foodie filth. I’ve tried making properly dirty huevos (like these from Smitten Kitchen) but as amazing as they tasted, the mildly perfectionist bit of me couldn’t quite handle the aesthetic of tortillas, eggs and cheese thrown haphazardly into a skillet. So now I fry the eggs in a separate pan – just to make them a bit, well, neater. Err… Yeah, while we’re on the subject of pans I should probably tell you that these huevos require quite a few of them. And with the black beans and salsa ranchera, they probably account for at least two of your five a day… OH OK I LIED! They aren’t really all that dirty after all. At best, they could be called ‘A Little Bit Untidy Huevos’. Sorry about that.
They are, however, very much in the spirit of dirty food – fried eggs and chorizo in a crispy, cheesy tortilla, loaded – an adjective that surely applies uniquely to dirty food – with black beans and spicy salsa. And they’re my go-to brunch when I’m properly, insatiably, nobody-block-my-path-to-the-kitchen ravenous, in need of something girdle-bustingly substantial. Like after a hardcore gym session, a brisk winter’s walk or a night on the sauce; those times when I most crave dirty food too. See, not a complete lie.
Since brunch should be a chilled-out affair, you can make it easy on yourself and prepare the salsa ranchera the night before (just bring it up to room temperature before serving – hot huevos and fridge-cold salsa… Just, no.). You could make it super easy and use bought salsa but trust me, this is better.
The egg-cooking instructions below are for over easy (what else?) but by all means make the eggs however you like them. Personally I think a runny yolk elevates this dish to a whole other level of deliciousness (and keeps those dirty pretensions vaguely intact by increasing mess on the plate), but if scrambled or over hard’s your thing, go for it.
As they say in Mexico… ¡Provecho!
Dirty A little bit untidy huevos
Serves 2 ravenous people
2 flour tortillas
Chorizo – about 1/3 of a stick (the salami kind; not cooking chorizo), diced
2 generous handfuls grated mature cheddar cheese (about 75g)
Vegetable or groundnut oil for frying
For the salsa ranchera:
1 tsp olive oil
1 small or half a large onion, finely chopped
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
½ tsp ground cumin
Pinch cayenne pepper
Pinch chilli flakes
400g tin chopped tomatoes
1 tbsp chopped fresh coriander leaves
For the beans:
1 tsp olive oil
2 garlic cloves, peeled and sliced
1 tsp cumin seeds
400g tin black beans, partly drained
To serve: salad, sour cream and fresh coriander leaves to garnish – and loose-waisted trousers for collapsing in a gluttonous heap afterwards
1. First make the salsa: heat the oil in a frying pan then fry the onion over a medium heat until soft but not coloured. Add the garlic and spices and fry for a further minute. Add the tomatoes and coriander then cover and cook over a low heat for around 15 minutes or until thick. Remove from the heat and set aside.
2. For the beans: heat the oil in a small saucepan, then fry the garlic and cumin for over a medium heat until they start to waft delicious smells from the pan (about 1-2 minutes). Add the beans and cook over a medium-low heat until warmed through. Season with a pinch of salt and freshly ground black pepper.
3. Right, now you’re ready to fry your huevos. Heat a large frying pan or cast-iron skillet if you have one (I use the latter; it gives the tortillas the pleasing, charred spots that only a skillet can) and grease with a little oil. Put a tortilla in the pan and toast until lightly golden; flip the tortilla and sprinkle the side you just toasted with a handful of grated cheese. Toast the other side until it’s also golden and the cheese has started to melt.
4. Meanwhile, in a separate frying pan, heat a couple of tablespoons of oil then add half of your diced chorizo. Fry for a few seconds until the spicy oil starts to seep out, then crack over two of your eggs. Fry the eggs until the white is almost completely cooked, then flip over and fry the other side for about 30 seconds to just seal the yolk. It’s not the end of the world if the yolk breaks – these are dirty untidy huevos after all – just take care not to cook the yolks all the way through (unless of course you like them that way).
5. Slide the chorizo and eggs onto one half of your tortilla, by now toasted and cheesy, then with a spatula fold the tortilla in half to encase the eggs. Toast for a few more seconds until crispy (and those lovely charred spots appear), then flip over and do the same to the other side.
6. Turn your tortilla out onto a plate, then use a slotted spoon (you don’t want your crispy tortillas to turn soggy with bean juice) to top it with half of the beans followed by a generous dollop of salsa. Serve with sour cream, a sprinkling of coriander leaves to garnish (which, as you can see by the picture, I totally forgot to do. Oops), and salad (ok, ok, this is practically health food!). Repeat steps 3-6 with the rest of your ingredients to make your second tortilla… Et voila!
7. After eating, let out your pants and collapse on the sofa in stuffed, brunchy delirium