In the cafes and informal restaurants of Mexico City, huevos a la mexicana is the standard almuerzo—the mid-morning meal taken between desayuno (light, early breakfast) breakfast and comida (late, multi-course lunch). Its name stems from its colors, which mirror those of the Mexican flag: red tomatoes, white onions, and green jalapeño (or serrano) peppers.
The dish couldn’t be more simple: Those ingredients are sautéed with eggs for a quick and deeply satisfying scramble.
Mexico has been grabbing my attention a lot lately—from the abominations being perpetrated by the US government at our southern border to the recent election of a left-wing, non-establishment president, Andrés Manuel López Obrador. So when delicious tomatoes hit the farmers market here in Austin recently, I realized I had all the goods for a classic huevos and got busy in the kitchen.
Note: If you’re using ultra-fresh heirloom tomatoes, as I was, they may actually be a little too juicy for an egg scramble—just too much moisture. Not to worry. After you finely chop the tomato, scrape the bits into a metal strainer set over a bowl and let them drain for a minute or two, pressing down on them a bit to squeeze out moisture. The point isn’t to squeeze out all of the juice; just the excess. When no one’s looking, gulp down the juice that gathers in the bowl—it’s the cook’s reward.
Huevos a la Mexicana
1.5 tbsp. neutral-tasting oil, like safflower
1 small white onion, finely chopped
1 jalapeño or serrano pepper, finely chopped (remove the seeds if you’re sensitive to pepper heat)
1 small clove of garlic, crush, peeled, and minced
1 tomato, finely chopped (see note above)
Some green herbs—preferably cilantro, but chives or parsley will work in a pinch)
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
4 eggs, lightly beaten
Place a skillet over medium heat and add the oil. When it shimmers, add the onions and cook, stirring often, until they’re clear. Stir in the the pepper and garlic, and cook for another minute. Then adding the tomato and a pinch of salt. Stir and let the tomato cook for another couple of minutes. Now add the eggs and herbs and cook, gently stirring, until the eggs form curds and they’re cooked through.
Huevos a la Mexicana are best eaten alongside a big dab of refried black beans, with tortillas and a fiery-hot condiment, like my beloved salsa macha.