Saturday, August 10, 2013

Baked Ranchero Eggs with Blistered Jack Cheese and Lime Crema

I am the worst at blogging. This is an example. I meant to post this, after meaning to post it forever ago before that, almost a month ago. And these are really bad cell phone pictures, which aren't usually really bad, but these ones are. Believe me when I say this tastes a lot better than it looks here.

Baked Ranchero Eggs with Blistered Jack Cheese and Lime Crema via The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook:

Serves 4-6

1 jalapeno
3 c. whole tomatoes (from a 28 oz. can), fire roasted if possible
1 medium white onion, roughly chopped
1 large garlic clove, crushed and peeled
Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
1¾ c. cooked black beans (or from a 15 oz. can), drained (optional)

2 Tb. olive oil
4 small (6 inch) corn tortillas
Salt, to taste

12 large eggs
1¼ c. coarsely shredded jack cheese

2 Tb. freshly squeezed lime juice, from about 1 lime
1 c. crema mexicana or sour cream
¼ c. chopped fresh cilantro

Halved in 9 inch skillet or quartered and baked in 1-quart gratin dish

Make ranchero sauce first. Preheat oven to 450 degrees. First, taste your jalapeno for heat. Adjust the amount accordingly, halving or quartering the pepper, if needed, and toss into a blender. I like it spicy, so I just went for the whole thing. Add the tomatoes, onion, garlic, and several pinches of salt and pepper, and blend until smooth. Pout into a 12-inch ovenproof skillet, add black beans, if using them, and bring to a simmer. Cook for 10 minutes, or until it has reduced slightly.

Meanwhile, brush a baking sheet with 1 tablespoon of the olive oil. Cut the tortillas into ½-inch-wide strips, and arrange them on the oiled tray. Brush the tops of the tortilla strips with the remaining tablespoon of oil, and sprinkle with salt. Bake for 3 to 6 minutes, or until they are brown and crisp. Mine are a little thicker, so it needed to bake a little longer, more like 10 minutes. Turn them over once if needed. Remove the strips from the oven, then preheat broiler.

In a separate bowl, stir together the lime juice, crema, and a pinch of salt.
Once the sauce has thickened slightly, remove the pan from heat, and break the eggs across the surface of the sauce, distributing them as evenly as possible. Return to heat, cover the pan, and simmer the eggs gently in the sauce for about 10 to 12 minutes, until the whites are nearly but not completely opaque. Sprinkle the surface of the tomato-egg mixture with cheese, and broil until the cheese is bubbly and a bit blistered, just a few minutes.
Garnish with dollops of lime crema, broken-up pieces of tortilla strips, and cilantro. Serve immediately.
I ended up overcooking the eggs a bit while trying to get the whites to set. It still tasted really good, but without that unctuous yolky flavor and mouthfeel. I would definitely make this again. The sauce is awesome and it makes enough for using on another dish later on.

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