Crispy Cheese Taco "Huevos Rancheros"

This dish is for those of you who claim you can't or don't want to cook complicated dishes, and for those who claim not to have time to cook.  You know who you are!!

This morning as I rummaged through my fridge to find something I could take for lunch at work, I spotted delicious pico de gallo I made a few days ago.  I either would have to eat it very soon or it would go to my yard waste.  For those who do not know the difference between pico de gallo and salsa, pico de gallo is made with fresh, uncooked ingredients, namely tomatoes, garlic, jalapeño, lime juice, cilantro, and salt. It's a little chunky, more like a salad. Tomato salsa on the other hand could be made with canned tomatoes and is more soupy.  Pico de gallo after a few days will exude more liquid and no longer has its chunky, fresh appearance and is now more akin to salsa.  Anyway I wanted to use it this morning.  What else could go with it?

I am proud of my well-stocked pantry and fridge.  I think you can call me a food hoarder and I won't be offended but sometimes this bad habit can serve my family and friends well, as I can make something delicious at the drop of a hat.  In my fridge, I also have corn tortillas, shredded cheese, and crema, left over from a catered dinner I did for a non-profit board meeting the other day.  I also have pickled red onion from the miang pla, my dinner a few days ago. It's breakfast, so eggs would be perfect.  I saw two eggs from our hens sitting on the counter.  We used to have an abundance of eggs during summer months, about 3-4 eggs a day.  Now we get one egg a day if we are lucky.  

I had all the ingredients to make egg tacos but the idea somehow didn't excite me.  How about crispy cheese egg tacos?  Now you are talking!  You can use cheddar cheese, Monterey Jack cheese, or other melting cheeses, whatever you have in the fridge.  I saw the cheesy taco a while ago from the Food Lab website (which I recommend you check out from time to time), and have been wanting to try it. I happened to have a Mexican cheese blend in the fridge. All the stars aligned, this is the time.

First I made my scrambled eggs.  Crack two eggs in a bowl with some shredded cheese and beat it well with a fork.  The rule of thumb for seasoning scrambled eggs is one pinch of salt per egg.  Since the cheese is a bit salty, I only added one pinch.  I am sure you know to cook scrambled eggs, don't you?  I like mine a little bit soft so I turned the heat off when the egg started to set.  Keep the egg warm while you created the cheesy taco shells!

To make a cheesy taco, you NEED a good 8 inch non-stick pan and low heat so you don't burn the cheese and ensure even cooking.  Burned cheesy tacos are not good eats, period. Put a small amount of shredded cheese (about 1 tablespoon) in a low heat pan, just a little smaller than the size of your corn tortilla (which you can buy 80 of them for $2!).  Wait until the cheese melts, then plop a corn tortilla on top to cover the cheese, press well.  Be patient and let the heat do its thing.  Cook until the cheese is nicely golden then flip it to other side, heating the tortilla a little more. Keep your tacos warm while cooking the rest the same way.  Two eggs should be enough for four tacos. Two for me and two for my husband. 

Now the tacos are ready to be assembled.  I divided scrambled eggs among four tacos, then added tomato salsa, cubed avocados, pickled red onions, crema, and some green salsa for bright acidic flavor.  You can use a squeeze of lime and a bit of sea salt instead of the salsa verde.  Purchased salsa can be substituted for homemade. Sour cream can stand in for crema. Also feel free to use carnitas, leftover roasted meats, or stir fried Mexican chorizo with cubed potatoes. Just substitute with whatever you have on hand.  I am sure it will be delicious. Just think about balancing flavors to have different flavors and textures in each bite. 

I have to say it was a successful culinary concoction and we did polish off our pico de gallo.  A crispy cheesy taco shell does elevate the mundane egg taco into something extraordinary! As we finished eating our tacos, I told my husband that we had only two eggs so I could not make anymore.  He replied, "I can get some later.  Anything else do you need?  I guessed he wanted more of that for dinner. :)  In that case I told him, "More tomatoes, and cilantro, please."  I am back to making pico de gallo again!