Chilaquiles is a Mexican dish that uses leftover tortillas, crisped, as the base for a topping of a sauce, cheese, and eggs (or chicken). Just as a frittata uses up extra sautéed vegetables and yesterday’s pasta, or as fried rice makes the most of Sunday night’s dried-out takeout, Chilaquiles takes these ingredients and makes them each transcend their individual taste value into a dish that you would never think was composed of leftovers.
I’d had in mind, actually, to make something more like Migas, a Spanish dish of leftovers — stale tortilla chips specifically. In Migas, the tortilla chips (or tortillas or just bread) are scrambled with the eggs, but there was no way I was scrambling my chips in with my eggs.
Because, wanting to make use of the mandoline I got for Christmas, I decided to make fresh, homemade potato chips. (I had neither tortillas nor tortilla chips, incidentally. I can’t figure out where the decision to make Chilaquiles or Migas came from in the first place.) The chips were warm, thin, salty — so good — and I didn’t want to sacrifice their crispness to the eggs. So I subverted tradition, made chips solely for the purpose of using them in a leftover-inspired plate of food, and enjoyed the fresh fried-ness of my lunch. — Cara
- 2 large handfuls good quality, kettle-cooked potato chips
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 small onion
- 1 clove garlic
- 1 can black beans
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- ½ teaspoon coriander
- Pinch of cayenne
- ½ cup (3-4 ounces) shredded Cheddar cheese
- 3 eggs
- ½ cup salsa, preferably homemade
- Cilantro, for garnish (optional)
Arrange the chips on two plates.
In a frying pan, warm 2 teaspoons of the oil over medium heat and add the onion and garlic. Saute until translucent, then add the spices and stir for a moment until they’re fragrant. Pour in the black beans with most of their liquid, and simmer until it’s reduced, smashing some of the beans up against the side of the pan. Cook for about 10 minutes, then taste for salt (really taste — you never know how salty canned beans are), and simmer over low heat while you scramble the eggs.
In a small, nonstick frying pan over low heat, scramble the eggs with the remaining teaspoon of olive oil and a pinch of salt.
Divide the black beans evenly over the two plates of chips. Top each with half the shredded cheese, then half of the scrambled eggs. Pour salsa over and pass more on the side. Garnish with cilantro if you have any.