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TODAY

Monday, December 18

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Airbags

I love finding out about regional food. New Orleans has gumbo, jambalaya and muffaletta sandwiches. Chicago has hot dogs, deep-dish pizza and Italian beef. I was lucky enough to spend a week in Austin and while I feared the prevalence of chain restaurants in the area where we were to stay, I was pleasantly surprised that a couple of blocks away from P.F. Chang's and the Spaghetti Warehouse, there were small, indie restaraunts which served awesome foods.

One of them was Las Manitas Avenue Cafe, which fortunately was very close to our hotel—and unfortunately very busy the first two times I went to it. We decided to try again for a late breakfast/early lunch and hope that we missed the crowds. I'm happy to say that we did. I'm even happier that my tour guide suggested the migas.

I'd never heard of them before and was skeptical because the menu said it was covered in ranchero sauce (which I'm used to meaning a spicy red sauce). I was assured I would not be disappointed. To my joy and delight I was not. A plate of scrambled eggs mixed with cheese and tortilla chips and the best ranchero sauce ever landed before me and my tentative morning stomach leapt with delight.

I was so thrilled with this perfect breakfast concoction that I decided to immediately begin looking for recipes to replicate what I'd been fortunate enough to eat. Thankfully, Google didn't disappoint me and I was able to find many, many recipes to consider and combine to create the perfect blend of all my favorite ingredients.

Not being a Spanish linguist, or even a Spanish speaker, I decided to track down the meaning of the word "migas." From the research I did, "migas" seems to mean "crumbs." This makes sense since one of the main ingredients in the recipe is either corn tortilla pieces, or tortilla chip pieces depending on your preference.

There's something else I really like about this recipe: it's cheap. My barely functioning—but absolutely gorgeous kitchen—calls out for prosciutto and lobster and fine, aged cheese. But I have a budget that calls for what's on sale and making sure that nothing goes to waste. With this recipe, I can use up an extra tablespoon of this or that. I'll provide the basics and then give you a list of what other things you can consider adding.

Migas
4 large eggs
1 tablespoon of water
1 tablespoon of salsa (chunky is better)
1 tablespoon of butter
1 tablespoon of olive oil
2 6-inch corn tortillas, torn in bite-sized pieces (or two large handfuls of broken tortilla chips)
1/4 cup of chopped onion
2 tablespoons of chopped green chili
1 chopped medium tomato (you can remove the seeds and pulp if you like)
1/2 cup of chopped avocado, with a sprinkle of lemon juice on top
2 teaspoons of minced fresh cilantro
2/3 cup of grated cheese (Monterey jack, mild cheddar, or Chihuahua)
Crema or sour cream as a garnish
Serve with warmed corn tortillas

Lightly beat the eggs, water and salsa in a small bowl. Melt the butter and olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add the tortilla pieces and sauté until they are soft. Add the onion and saute until it is clear, for about five minutes. Stir in the chopped green chilis. Pour the egg mixture into the skillet, and stir slowly until the eggs are cooked through. Remove the skillet from the heat and stir in the tomato, avocado, cilantro and cheese. Serve immediately with the sour cream, tortillas and extra salsa if desired.

Makes two servings.

Items for addition or substitution:

  • Crisply cooked and crumbled bacon
  • Chopped ham
  • Crumbled chorizo (browned before you add the eggs)
  • Cooked, shredded chicken or turkey
  • Grated or diced potato (sautéed until tender before adding the eggs)
  • Poblano chilis
  • Green bell pepper
  • Green onion
  • Cayenne pepper (a dash or so)
  • Minced garlic
  • Sautéed mushrooms

Another good thing about this recipe is that it can easily be doubled or tripled—so it's perfect for either an 8 a.m. group brunch, or a 3 a.m. post-party meal.

Update:Reader Meredith K. wrote to say that this recipe is actually for chilaquiles and not migas.

"Chilaquiles are just like Migas but include veggies, usually jalapeno/chile, tomato and onion (colors are symbolic of the Mexican flag)."

Based on my online research, there are several different versions of what "has" to be in chilaquiles and what "has" to be in migas, and they're all different. Meredith's version is popular in San Antonio.

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