HUEVOS RANCHEROS (Mexican country eggs, one serving)
½ cup salsa ranchera or salsa verde (recipes follow)
2 tablespoons peanut or safflower oil
2 small tortillas
grated Monterrey jack or Cheddar cheese
coriander, minced, for garnish
1. Heat the oil in a small frying pan and fry the tortillas lightly on both sides – they must not become crisp. Drain them on paper towels and place them in a warmed individual serving dish, such as a small cazuela.
2. In the same oil, fry the eggs, then place them on the tortillas. Cover the eggs with the warmed sauce and sprinkle with the cheese. Run briefly under the broiler to melt the cheese, sprinkle with coriander and serve immediately.
SALSA RANCHERA (Mexican cooked red tomato sauce, ½ cup)
1 tomato (about ½ pound), broiled
1 or 2 chiles serranos, toasted
½ clove garlic, peeled
1 tablespoon peanut or safflower oil
a thick slice of onion, finely chopped
1/8 teaspoon salt or to taste
1. Line a shallow metal pan with foil and put the tomato in it. Place it under a hot broiler – do not have the flame too high or the tomato will burn without cooking through – and then turn it from time to time so that it cooks evenly – the skin will be blistered and charred. A medium tomato will take about 20 minutes. In a blender, process the tomato, skin, core and seeds, to a fairly smooth sauce.
2. Toast the chiles by placing them on a warm comal or griddle and turning them from time to time until the skin is charred and the flesh soft. Blend the tomato, chiles and garlic together to a fairly smooth sauce. Do not overblend.
3. Heat the oil and cook the onion, without browning, until it is soft. Add the blended ingredients and cook the sauce over a brisk flame for about 5 minutes, until it reduces and thickens a little. This sauce is most commonly used for huevos rancheros, but it is also good on shredded meat in tacos. It keeps well and freezes successfully.
SALSA DE TOMATE VERDE COLIDA (Mexican cooked green tomato sauce, about 2 cups)
2 cups tomates verdes, drained (see note below)
1 clove garlic, peeled and roughly chopped
¼ medium onion, roughly chopped
2 or 3 chiles serranos, toasted
¼ teaspoon granulated sugar
¼ teaspoon salt, or to taste
3 tablespoons safflower oil
1. Toast the chiles by placing them on a warm comal or griddle and turning them from time to time until the skin is charred and the flesh is soft.
2. Process the ingredients in a blender until they are smooth.
3. Heat the oil in a small frying pan and cook the sauce for about 5 minutes, until it has thickened a little and is well seasoned. This sauce is used for huevos rancheros, budin azteca, and is also good mixed with shredded meat on tacos.
NOTE: If fresh tomates verdes are available, remove their papery husks, rinse them and barely cover them with water. Bring them to a boil, lower the flame and simmer them for about 10 minutes. By this time they should be soft. If you cook them over a high flame they will burst – if this happens, just drain off some of the liquid and grind the debris with the remaining water. If they remain whole, as they should, drain them and grind them with their skins and seeds, and a little of the cooking water, to a smooth sauce. They can be used immediately or stored in one or two cup containers in the freezer for future use.
from Diana Kennedy, The Cuisines of Mexico