Sunday, 10 October 2010


There are a couple of versions of this, primarily, breakfast dish, of fried wedges of tortilla fried in oil then smothered in sauce and heated until the tortilla has started to soften. Rick Bayliss describes it as a "tortilla casserole" which I guess is a good a translation as any.

The two most common variations use either tomato salsa or else a salsa verde, however I have also heard of versions which use a mole or a white sauce.

Preparation is quick and straightforward. Stale tortillas are cut into wedges or torn into chunks and fried in oil. It doesn't take a huge quantity of oil, enough to cover the bottom of a large pot to a depth of about 1/2cm is plenty. The tortilla can be fried in batches. It is important to get them golden brown so that they hold together in the sauce. Some of them, will of course turn to much, however it's nice to have some chewier parts in the finished dish.

I used a simple tomato salsa made from a couple of grilled plum tomatoes blended with onion, oregano and two serrano chiles and seasoned. I cooked this out for a few minutes before using it and I didn't add garlic as I didn't particularly fancy garlic in a breakfast dish, though if you were serving the dish as a lunch you could add the garlic and some chicken perhaps.

 To assemble the dish I removed the oil that remained after frying the tortilla from the pan, I poured less than half of the salsa into the pan, added the fried tortilla (which had been draining on some paper towels) and poured the remaining salsa over the top. I covered the pan and let everything heat through.

I served with queso fresco crumbled over the top, which seemed like enough elaboration for me, though you often see recipes that specify adding a melting cheese like oaxaca or adding crema (something like creme fraiche) to the dish.

It's an interesting dish. It makes for a more substantial breakfast then I would normally be inclined to eat, to my mind it's more suitable for a weekend than for everyday. The consistency of the tortilla, softening into the salsa is unusual, but not unpleasant and there are enough chewy parts left on the tortilla to give some contrast.

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