It’s spring and cycling season is officially open–not that we cyclists here in northern California ever really take a hiatus. This time of year just means less layers are required for a comfortable ride. To the back of the closet go the rain jacket and the shoe covers, hooray! At least the last couple of days have been ideal for giving the old legs a good workout again, so I’ve done just that. A few more weeks of regular riding and I hope I’ll be able to give my husband a run for his money (wishful thinking). He’s already riding 150-200 miles a week which means I’ve got A LOT of work ahead of me.
All this riding also means that I’ve got to up the carb intake–both for fuel and recovery–so I’ve been on a pasta kick lately. I made my favorite pesto sauce last night, but I’ll wait to share it since Cinco de Mayo is upon us, after all. Instead, I’ll mark the occasion by sharing my version of huevos rancheros.
I’ve been wanting to try this dish since 2006, when I came across it at a beachfront restaurant in Tulum, Mexico. While I love Mexican food, huevos rancheros has never quite captured my attention like an enchilada or a carnitas burrito would. I was so pleasantly surprised when I tasted the Tulum version; my taste buds were so delighted by the harmonious fusion of Mexican and Asian flavors that I’ve never forgotten the dish.
I’m not an expert on the traditional preparation of huevos rancheros but I can say that the corn tortilla, beans and fried egg anchor this dish to its Mexican roots. The twist comes from the use of Sambal Oelek, a ground chili paste that is common in Asian cooking. It lends a sharp, moderately spicy bite to whatever it accompanies. Chances are, this chili paste shares the condiment tray with the soy sauce and white pepper at your favorite Chinese restaurant (just in case you’re wondering).
The last component of this dish is the salsa. I seem to remember that in this version a cooked tomato sauce was used rather than a salsa fresca. I don’t think this a departure from Mexican tradition but what I did to replicate the dish gave it the final Asian twist: I used fish sauce. Now before you click away from this page, please give me a chance. If you like Thai and Vietnamese food, you’ve had fish sauce before–you just didn’t know until now–surprise! In this case, the fish sauce was the best way to replicate the savory notes of the tomato sauté. You don’t taste fish at all, but if you won’t try this, I suppose you can get away with using leftover pomodoro sauce. It would be good, too.
This was Sunday breakfast today; I asked my husband to skip his steel cut oats/apple/yogurt habit in lieu of this. I was quite happy with the way this turned out. It was delicious fuel for this morning’s ride and just for a second, I was back on the beach in Tulum.
Note: This dish doesn’t take long to prepare. Prepping and assembling the layers took less than 3o minutes.
- Eggs, one per serving
- 1 15-oz can beans (I used low fat refried black beans)
- Corn Tortillas, smaller size, one per serving
- 2 tomatoes, chopped
- 1 shallot, chopped
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- Fish sauce, one teaspoon
- Sambal Oelek, to taste
- Avocado slices
- Chopped chives (optional)
Once the individual components are prepared, this dish comes together pretty easily. In a small sauté chopped shallot in olive oil over medium heat until translucent. Next, add tomatoes and fish sauce and allow to cook, covered, until the tomatoes are soft. This will take about 5 minutes so heat up the beans while you wait. Set both aside when done. In a separate pan (I used a cast iron skillet), heat up the tortillas you’ll be using. The last step is to fry up the eggs.
To assemble, use one corn tortilla as the bottom layer followed by the beans. Lay one fried egg over the beans and top with the cooked salsa. Lastly, add a small dollop of sambal oelek, some sliced avocados and garnish with chopped chives.