So remember those amazing Mexican breakfasts I mentioned in my Mazatlan summary? It's time to introduce you to my absolute favorite of them all - chilaquiles! I ate this dish four times in seven days. Needless to say, I loved it.
Chilaquiles are basically leftover corn tortillas that are cut up, fried and and tossed in a red or green sauce. The tortillas become very crispy, then soften slightly when coated in the sauce for a crunchy, flavorful delight. Topped with fresh cilantro, red onion and queso fresco or cotija, the flavor profile is bright and fresh. They are excellent with shredded chicken or beef, but my personal favorite is served with refried beans and eggs at breakfast.
Doesn't that look fabulous? I get a hankering just looking at that picture......
Leftover tortillas are better than fresh for this dish as they fry up a bit better. You can either use store bought or make your own using masa harina and water. You can pick up a bag in the international foods isle of any grocery store for about $3 and that will make you about a billion tortillas (slight exaggeration in the figure, but it lasts forever).
Our resort served their chilaquiles with a poblano chili salsa verde which I was nuts about. But I had jalapenos on hand and decided to make a roasted jalapeno sauce instead. This simple salsa verde has a great, smoky flavor thanks to the roasted skins and is incredibly easy to make. You quickly roast the tomatillos, jalapenos and garlic in the oven, then blend with cilantro and a bit of lime juice. Delicious, beautiful and healthy, I always make way more than I need and throw it on everything from veggie wraps to turkey burgers to eggs.
If you're not a big fan of spicy food, don't be scared! You can easily control the heat of the salsa verde by adding more or less of the jalapeno's seeds and membrane. It also mellows out a lot when served with the tortillas and cheese.
Did I also mention it's gorgeous? Oh, well then....it's gorgeous.
This was always served with a side of refried beans and pickled peppers. I also love it with a side of avocado. The best part is mixing everything on your plate together as you eat, creating perfect little bites with each element.
This is a great dish for two of you (right here!) or a family of 12. This was a staple in the buffet line at morning brunch and a very popular dish with everyone who came through the line. Just multiply the recipe as necessary.
Also, this doesn't have to be breakfast! Add some shredded chicken, grilled skirt steak or pulled pork and you have a scrumptious dinner side.
Chilaquilles (serves 2)
- 4 corn tortillas, slightly stale (left out overnight)
- 2 tbs corn or vegetable oil
- 4 tbs Roasted Jalapeno & Tomatillo Salsa (recipe below)
- 1/4 c diced red onion
- 2 oz queso fresco or cotija cheese
- 1 can fat free refried beans (I prefer Rosarita)
- 1/2 c diced avocado
- cilantro, to garnish
Place a large skillet over medium heat. Add enough oil to generously coat the bottom of the pan. You should use enough so that the entire pan is covered with a a little extra on the sides when you slightly tilt the pan, so you may need a bit more or less than two tablespoons depending on the size of your pan.
Chop the tortillas into into bite size pieces (about 1/2 inch squares). When the oil is hot, add the tortillas and cook, flipping occasionally with tongs, until both sides are golden brown and crispy. When ready, remove tortillas to a paper towel and blot off excess oil. Reduce burner heat to medium.
Add a teeny bit more oil to the chilaquiles pan (or spray with non-stick). Pour salsa verde into pan and immediately add back the fried tortillas. Toss together to evenly coat the tortillas, then remove from heat.
To serve, divide between two plates and top with chopped onion, cheese and cilantro. Drizzle with additional salsa verde if desired. Serve with side of refried beans, eggs and avocado.
Roasted Jalapeno & Tomatillo Salsa Verde
- 1 jalapeno
- 3 tomatillos
- 3 cloves garlic
- 1/3 c cilantro
- 1 tsp lime juice
- salt & pepper
- 2-4 tbs water
- honey (if desired...we didn't use)
Turn broiler onto high. Remove the husks from the tomatillos and peel the garlic. Lay jalapeno, tomatillos and garlic on a baking sheet and place under the broiler. Roast for about two minutes, then flip garlic and roast for a minute or so more, keeping an eye on the garlic. Once it is browned, remove the garlic from the baking sheet and set aside to cool. Continue roasting jalapeno and tomatillos until skins are charred on all sides. Remove from broiler and place in a paper bag for 5-10 minutes, allowing the skins to losen.
When the jalapeno is cool enough to handle, transfer to a cutting board. Chop off the stem, then remove the membranes and seeds from inside. Do not remove the skins as they add great roasted flavor to the salsa.
Place jalapeno, tomatillos, garlic, cilantro and lime juice in a food processor. If you want mild salsa, do not add any of the removed membrane or seeds; for medium, add half; for spicy, add all. Season with salt and pepper to taste, then process until smooth. Add water one tablespoon at a time, processing between each addition, until desired consistency is reached.