This week on the show, Evan talks to Pati Jinich, author of Pati’s Mexican Table, about using salsas creatively.
Jinich shared her recipe for Huevos Divorciados, or divorced eggs. The dish is split between two major salsas – red and green – with the half the plate covered in each.
As Jinich writes below, it’s best to let the egg yolks run into both colors and mix them up – because divorces can get messy.
DIVORCED EGGS (HUEVOS DIVORCIADOS)
(Excerpted from PATI’S MEXICAN TABLE, © 2013 by Pati Jinich. Reproduced by permission of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. All rights reserved.)
✹ SERVES 4 ✹ PREPARATION TIME: 5 MINUTES ✹ COOKING TIME: 15 MINUTES ✹
Not for nothing are Mexicans known to be witty and sarcastic during life’s downturns. Consider the name given to these eggs: “divorced.” They are perfect for people who can’t decide between red sauce and green sauce, or for voracious types like me, who want them both at the same time.
Eat these eggs for breakfast, for lunch, or at 2:00 A.M., but eat them. Traditionally the eggs should be served sunny-side up so the yolks break into both sauces and turn the divorce into an even bigger mess.
8 corn tortillas, store-bought or homemade
8 large eggs, at room temperature
Kosher or coarse sea salt
2 cups salsa verde, homemade or storebought, heated
2 cups charred tomato salsa, homemade or store-bought, heated
2 cups refried beans, homemade or storebought, heated
¼ cup crumbled queso fresco, Cotija, farmer cheese, or mild feta
1. Heat ¼ inch of oil in a medium skillet over medium-high heat until hot but not smoking. The oil is ready if when you dip the edge of a tortilla into it, it bubbles happily around the edges without going wild. Using tongs, dip the tortillas one at a time in the oil for 10 to 15 seconds per side. The tortillas will first appear to soften and then begin to crisp. Drain on paper towels and cover with aluminum foil or an inverted plate to keep warm. (Alternatively, you can lightly toast the tortillas on a well-heated comal or in a skillet over medium heat for 30 seconds per side.)
2. Pour off all but 2 tablespoons of the oil you used for the tortillas if you fried them. If you toasted the tortillas, add 2 tablespoons oil. Heat the oil over medium heat. Crack 2 eggs into the pan, sprinkle with salt to taste, and cook to your preferred doneness. Keep warm while you repeat with the remaining eggs.
3. To serve, place 2 of the warmed tortillas on four plates and top with 2 eggs. Ladle a generous amount of green sauce over one of the eggs on each plate and red sauce over the other. Serve with the refried beans on the side and a sprinkling of the cheese.
MEXICAN COOK’S TRICK: I like my eggs with the whites cooked and the yolks still runny. I crack the eggs into the hot skillet and then cover with a lid or a plate to let the steam help cook the whites from above.
COOKED GREEN SALSA (SALSA VERDE)
✹ MAKES ABOUT 2 CUPS ✹ PREPARATION TIME: 5 MINUTES ✹ COOKING TIME: 18 MINUTES ✹
CAN BE MADE UP TO 5 DAYS AHEAD, COVERED, AND REFRIGERATED ✹
This is my house green salsa, a piquant blend of simmered tomatillos, chiles, garlic, white onion, and cilantro. The ingredients are pureed and then given a quick cook-down to thicken and deepen the flavors. Bright and smooth, the salsa goes with nearly everything: tacos, quesadillas, sunny-side-up eggs in the morning. And just like my Charred Tomato Salsa, salsa verde can be used as a cooking sauce for fish, chicken, shredded meat, or the vegetables of your choice.
1 pound tomatillos, husks removed, rinsed
1 garlic clove
2 jalapeño or serrano chiles, or to taste
1/3 cup coarsely chopped white onion
1 cup cilantro leaves and top part of stems
1 teaspoon kosher or coarse sea salt, or to taste
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
1. Place the tomatillos, garlic, and chiles in a medium saucepan and cover with water. Bring to a simmer and cook until the tomatillos change from bright to pale green and are soft but not falling apart, about 10 minutes.
2. With a slotted spoon, transfer the tomatillos, garlic, and 1 of the chiles to a blender or food processor. Add the onion, cilantro, and salt and puree until smooth. Taste for heat, and add more chile if necessary until you have the desired amount of heat.
3. Heat the oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat until hot but not smoking. Pour the salsa into the saucepan and cook, stirring occasionally, until thickened slightly, 6 to 8 minutes. Serve hot or warm.
CHARRED TOMATO SALSA (SALSA ROJA)
✹ MAKES ABOUT 2 CUPS ✹ PREPARATION TIME: 5 MINUTES ✹ COOKING TIME: 10 TO 12 MINUTES ✹ CAN BE MADE UP TO 5 DAYS AHEAD, COVERED, AND REFRIGERATED ✹
This is my classic red salsa, rustic and deep, with a hint of smoke that comes from charring the ingredients (see note below). Infinitely accommodating and delicious on everything it touches, it is excellent served as a dip for chips; drizzled on tacos, quesadillas, and all sorts of appetizers; or used as a base for meat and vegetable dishes. Depending on how the salsa is used, it can end up tasting quite different.
1 pound ripe tomatoes
1 garlic clove, unpeeled
1 ¼-inch-thick slice large white onion (about 1 ounce)
1 jalapeño or serrano chile, or to taste
¾ teaspoon kosher or coarse sea salt, or to taste
1. Preheat the broiler.
2. Place the tomatoes, garlic, onion, and chile on a baking sheet or in a broiler-proof skillet. Broil 10 to 12 minutes, turning halfway through. Remove the tomatoes when they are mushy, their skin is charred and wrinkled, and the juices begin to run. The chile and onion should be softened and nicely charred, and the papery skin of the garlic should be burned and the clove softened. Alternatively, you can char the vegetables on a preheated comal or in a cast-iron or heavy nonstick skillet on top of the stove over medium heat.
3. Remove the skin from the garlic clove and discard. Place the garlic in a blender or food processor, along with the tomatoes, onion, half of the chile, the salt, and any juices. Puree until smooth. Taste for heat, and add more chile if necessary until you have the desired amount of heat.
MEXICAN COOK’S TRICK: Once the tomatoes and chile are charred, you can remove the skins or leave them on. Like many cooks, I keep them for more intricate flavor and a more rustic texture.
CHARRING: One of the signature cooking techniques in Mexico is charring, which contributes an essential flavor to a dish, concentrating and deepening it, while at the same time bringing out a subtle sweetness and a rough, out-in-the-country personality.
Traditionally ingredients like chiles, onion, garlic, spices, herbs, tomatillos, and tomatoes are charred or toasted on a comal or directly over an open fl ame. They can also be charred on a grill, in a skillet on the stovetop, or under the broiler, which I find the easiest and fastest way. Place the ingredients on a large baking sheet with plenty of space between them so they will not steam, and broil until they are nicely browned on one side; turn and repeat on the other side. Charring is like roasting marshmallows—you want the outside almost black and the inside cooked and transformed but not burnt.