I flirted with giving this recipe another name, since calling it huevos rancheros will cause me to lose serious cred with a certain demographic. So by way of disclaimer, I'm aware it's likely nothing resembling this dish has ever gone by this name in Mexico. Or New Mexico. Or Texas. But man is it good.
This particular creation was born after a glut of leftover salsa, and is in the tradition of the breakfast all-star shakshouka, or the invitingly-named eggs in purgatory. Instead of following the usual huevos rancheros policy of frying up eggs and topping them with salsa, eggs are poached directly in the salsa. You just warm up an inch or so in a pan, crack in as many eggs as needed, and cover the pan until they're cooked to your runny-or-not liking. This move is brilliant for several reasons:
1. The eggs sop up the salsa, becoming infused with its spicy flavor
2. You can cook up a whole pan of eggs at the same time, making it ideal brunch-party fare
We fed six adults at a recent brunch, and it was ridiculously easy -- I prepped the fixings ahead of time, then just cracked the eggs into a large pot of salsa, covered them, and rejoined my guests for another cup of coffee until they were done. Breakfast burrito coma ensued. After your eggs are cooked, where you go next is up to you. I tend to toss them in a warmed corn tortilla with a slick of refried beans (the vegetarian version of these are my guilty pleasure), cilantro, guacamole, sour cream (or its house substitute, yogurt), and maybe some radishes or chopped red onions if I'm feeling fancy. Who needs authenticity when you could be having this for brunch?
serves 2, but take this as a rough template and adjust to your taste/crowd size
3/4 - 1 cup salsa, depending on your pan size (I'm especially fond of this, and buy ridiculous amounts when it goes on sale)
4 small corn tortillas
3/4 cup refried beans, warmed
1/2 cup guacamole, or 1/2 avocado, diced
2 radishes, thinly-sliced
1/3 cup crumbled Mexican white cheese (such as queso fresco), or creamy French- or Israeli-style feta
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
additional hot sauce and lime wedges for serving
Pour the salsa in a pan large enough to accommodate 4 eggs, and warm over medium heat until it's just simmering. Crack the eggs into the pan, cover, and keep the heat just high enough to maintain a simmer. Cook until the eggs are done to your liking (I go for somewhere between runny and set, ~7 minutes). While the eggs are cooking, you can assemble your topping ingredients and warm the beans.
When the eggs are almost done, heat the tortillas directly over a burner to warm and soften them (a small amount of char is fine withe me as well). Ladle an egg into a warmed tortilla, top with whatever other ingredients you desire, and enjoy.