This morning I woke up inspired to blog and recreate a family dish that I’ve loved since childhood. Tortilla Chips and Egg, in my family at least, goes back to my Grandma Bell, who would combine crispy tortilla chips with scrambled eggs as a way to stretch ingredients to feed her large family. This dish is reminiscent of chilaquiles – do a google search and you’ll come across of number of variations, such as this recipe by Latina Mama Rama. It is also known as “migas,” according to my Tía Rachel, and you can find a ton of recipes online more closely resembling this one. Where Tortilla Chips and Egg diverges from chilaquiles is that there’s no salsa or red chile sauce. It’s purely what the name says it is — tortilla chips and egg. Don’t let the simplicity of this dish fool you as it does require a certain level of culinary skill to get it just right.
So, I’m about to get all Chicana Julia Child on you. Don’t worry, it’s going to be fine and you’re going to do great. Before we begin, gather all the necessary ingredients:
6 corn tortillas
Salt & Pepper
Step 1. Fry the Tortilla Chips
Cut corn tortillas into chip size (squares, triangles, whatever you fancy). Place several paper towels on a plate and set aside. Place 3-4 tablespoons of olive oil in a non-stick skillet and heat on medium (olive oil has a low smoke point, so be sure to watch the pan carefully. If it starts to smoke, you have the temperature too high). To test when the oil is ready, carefully place a small piece of tortilla in the oil. When it starts to fry, you’re ready to begin frying the tortilla chips.
Carefully place each tortilla chip one by one into the hot oil, creating a single layer in the pan. Using a fork or tongs, move the chips around the pan and let them fry until they are just about golden brown. Flip over and repeat. You may notice that each chip is completing its cooking at various times, so you need to watch them carefully. Remove them a few at a time as they are done frying and place onto the plate with the paper towels. Blot with another paper towel to remove excess oil and add a generous amount of salt and pepper. Repeat this process until all of the chips are done. This should take about 10-15 minutes. When my mom used to make this dish, I would snack on these chips as they came out of the pan, so if you have a kid that does this or if you are the rogue chip eater, this process may take longer. Here’s what the chips should look like after they’re all fried.
Step 2. Prepare the Eggs
For this recipe I used a combination of 4 whole eggs and 3 egg whites in an effort to balance the richness of the tortilla chips. But let’s be real, this does not necessarily make this a healthy recipe as a result. But, I do think it gives good balance and a lighter taste. Since you have already thoroughly salted and peppered the chips, you do not need to add any seasoning to the egg mixture. Take the pan that you used for frying the tortilla chips and wipe out all the excess oil with a paper towel. Heat pan on medium.
Step 3. Put it All Together
Once the pan is heated, add the egg mixture and begin cooking the eggs, making sure to stir so as not to over cook the eggs. A trick is to lift the pan off the heat occasionally while stirring. At this point, you’re really only cooking the eggs for about a minute — they should still be quite watery and raw. Add the tortilla chips and mix with the cooking eggs until well combined. It’s going to look weird and you’re going to wonder, how is all the egg going to cook on the chips without browning everything. It’s not a perfect science, but I find that continuing to lift the pan away from the heat while stirring and bringing it back onto the heat will help achieve desired results.
*Why don’t you want to brown the eggs? It’s not necessarily a bad thing, but browned eggs alter the taste and make the texture tough. Keep stirring, lifting the pan away from the heat, stirring some more, and you’ll start seeing it come together. I would have taken pictures of this process, but had I done so I would have browned the eggs. So yeah, you have to watch them like a hawk. When the eggs are just about cooked remove pan from the heat and top with a plate or lid to allow the steam to cook any other raw parts sticking to the tortillas chips.
Step 4. Enjoy!
As you see from the picture, you can add your favorite hot sauce or you can do what I did after taking this picture and use ketchup (yup, ketchup — that’s how I always ate it as a kid and that flavor profile has stuck with me). I think this dish would also taste delicious with grilled onions, peppers, mushrooms, cheese, and/or a dollop of sour cream. My favorite accompaniments for this dish would be some fresh brewed coffee and pan dulce (sweet bread). Have fun with trying your own variations!