On my recent trip to Mexico, I discovered something called chilaquiles on a breakfast menu. Let's not beat around the bush - these are a version of nachos, but ones that you are allowed to have in the morning. I grew addicted.
They come with either a red or green sauce. The red sauce is with 'jitomate' (red tomatoes) and the green is based on tomatillos. You can also have them topped with chicken or eggs. My recipe is vegetarian, so pink pickled onions and avocado slices are my topping suggestions.
This is a simplified version of the chilaquiles rojos, as tomatillos are difficult to get hold of in the UK. I'm a savoury girl in the morning. I like Marmite rather than jam, cheese on toast rather than French toast. I reckon this recipe would make a fantastic New Year's Day brunch paired with a hangover-curing, post-NYE Bloody Mary.
I was asked to create this recipe for Tabasco, which comes in a variety of flavours nowadays: the classic red; habanero; chipotle; and (my favourite) the green version. I actually keep a bottle of this in my handbag. 'I've got hot sauce in my bag, swag.' (Although apparently Beyoncé's hot sauce is actually a euphemism for a baseball bat. Whatevs.)
Substitutions for authentic Mexican ingredients: it's hard to get hold of 'queso fresco' (although you can from Gringa Dairy), so I've used cheddar. You can, if you wish, skip the tortilla frying and use ready-made tortilla chips, though I think that would be a bit of a shame. There is nothing like a freshly fried tortilla chip!
Chilaquiles RojosServes 2
Pink pickled onions
1 large red onion, finely sliced
150ml white wine vinegar
3 tbsp sugar
2 tbsp salt
A few juniper berries
For the sauce:
4 fresh tomatoes, halved
1 red onion, quartered
1 large clove of garlic
2 large ancho peppers, deseeded, stalk removed, split open
1/2 tsp salt
For the chips:
4 corn tortillas, each cut into 6 to 8 triangles
Corn oil for frying
For the topping:
100g cheddar or queso fresco or ricotta salata, grated or crumbled
50ml of single cream
A handful of fresh coriander leaves
Green Tabasco, liberally applied
Half a lime
1 ripe avocado, sliced
Make the pink pickled onions by combining all the ingredients in a glass jar/bowl/jug and leaving for a few hours or overnight.
Note: Dry roasting is a way of charring ingredients by placing them in a hot frying pan (ideally cast iron) without oil.
First dry roast the tomatoes, onion and garlic. Set aside or in a blender.
Dry roast the ancho peppers - just 1 minute each side.
Put the ancho peppers into a heatproof bowl or jug and pour over boiling water until covered. Leave to soak for 10 minutes, then remove and place in a blender with the rest of the ingredients.
Blend with a little of the soaking water and the salt.
Meanwhile, using a deep frying pan or deep fryer, fry the tortillas until golden and crispy.
Prepare the rest of the ingredients so you have them to hand.
Pour the sauce into a frying pan and simmer.
Take a large shallow dish and pour some of the sauce in the bottom.
Start layering the tortilla chips on top of the sauce. Pour more sauce around the chips.
Add the cheese.
Grill or microwave for a couple of minutes until the cheese is melted.
Drizzle the cream on top, adding the coriander leaves and the Tabasco sauce.
Serve with lime wedges and slices of avocado.
Add the pink pickled onions if you wish.
This recipe was commissioned by Tabasco UK. This wasn't compromising my principles at all, cos I really like Tabasco sauce.