At the end of October I will be traveling to Austin, Texas to celebrate my father’s 70th birthday. I still can’t believe the man is 70, as he is quite simply the hippest, grooviest and most loving man you could ever hope to meet. Seriously. By day he’s in finance and accounting, and by night he’s the grooviest bass player and guitarist you could ever hope to jam with. Yes, I’m talking about my own father. He’s been my role model for how to live my life, on how to do what’s right even when it’s not easy and how to be kind and gentle to everyone you meet. I’m talking about a man who will cry happy tears just talking about my mom after 46 years of marriage, a man who touches the hearts of anyone he meets, and a man that can rock and roll deep into the wee hours of the morning, long after his only son has gone to bed. He is a charismatic, gentle, funny and an amazing human being, and the best part is he’s my dad.
While spending some time at the computer this morning designing his party invitation I began to think about a dish called Migas that he always made for breakfast. My father is a fantastic cook and knows his way around the kitchen; add my mother to the mix and you can see why I love food as much as I do. Migas, sort of a Tex Mex scramble, has endless variations, and depending on where you are and who you talk to, it’s almost rarely ever made the same place twice. There are even passionate debates all over the internet over where migas end and where chilaquiles begin, but I never participate. To me, migas will always and only be “a la Ben.”
Simply put, migas (meaning “crumbs” in Spanish) are eggs that are scrambled and cooked with tortillas or left over bread. In Spain they’re usually served with pimenton and garlic and on occasion you’ll see chorizo added. In the world of Tex Mex, they are eggs that have been cooked with corn tortilla strips and topped with tomatoes, onions, sour cream, cheese, avocados, salsa or pico de gallo. The beauty of the dish is that it’s so adaptable to one’s personal tastes, but in its most simplest form I find it the most enjoyable. Eggs, tortilla chips, sea salt, a dash of hot sauce. That’s it. Nothing more and nothing else.
When I want a big hearty breakfast full of an abundance of Tex Mex flavors, I’ll go for chilaquiles. But when I want something quick, simple and perfect in its unadorned state, I go for my migas. You simply can’t go wrong.
My Dad’s Migas
A simple, hearty and easy breakfast that I’ve been known to eat at all hours, I don’t add anything else to the dish after cooking because I love the flavors as they are. There’s something so satisfying about a crunchy chip that’s been coated in egg and cooked, sort of a soft-on-the-first-bite-but-crunchy-underneath sensation. This is why they are fried first to make chips-other recipes call for heating up until they are warm. Sea salt adds texture and crunch and the hot sauce adds zing.
2 corn tortillas, cut into strips
1/2 cup oil, for frying
1 tablespoon butter
4 eggs, beaten lightly
sea salt, to taste
Tabasco sauce, to taste
Fry the tortilla strips in oil until crunchy, remove and drain on them on a paper towel. In a skillet, melt the butter and then add the cooked tortilla strips and then pour the beaten eggs over them. On medium heat stir the eggs, thoroughly coating all the tortilla chips. When the eggs are almost done to your liking remove from eat and continue to stir – the eggs will continue to cook just a bit more. Transfer to a plate, sprinkle with sea salt and add Tabasco sauce.
Remember, no two plates of migas will ever be the same. This recipe is just a guide and can be modified however you’d like.