Food From 4th: A Modern Way to Brunch

• Sep 12, 2014 • Tags: , , , ,

FoodHuevos rancheros

‘I make this dish a lot. It’s the one thing I order without fail at breakfast tables in America. The holy trio of eggs, tomatoes and avocado never fails me. It mostly crops up at my house mid-morning on a Saturday, after a walk to the shop for a paper.

I have kept this version super-simple, as it’s a great thing to be able to throw together in a few minutes without having to dash to the shop. I use spring onions, as they are quick to cook and have a milder note, more suited to the morning I think, but they can be just as easily swapped for thinly sliced red onion. I use fresh tomatoes in the summer, but good-quality tinned ones work for the rest of the year.

The key here is cooking the eggs just perfectly. I have tried a few different ways of getting just-set white and runny yolk perfection. The trick that works for me is using a frying pan with a lid and keeping the heat low so that the eggs poach and steam at the same time. I also make a version of this with roasted peppers or slices of smoked tofu instead of the eggs.

It’s really worth investing as much as you can in the eggs you buy. I always buy organic free-range. Eggs are nutrient-loaded, perfectly packaged bundles of goodness. The yolks contain all the vitamins and minerals, and by keeping them runny you actually preserve the nutrients that would be killed off by the heat if you were to cook them all the way through. AJones-HiRes-3-Anna Jones-Day11-151

Ingredients | Serves 2 as a hearty brunch

Olive Oil

4 Spring Onions, trimmed and finely chopped

1 clove of garlic, peeled and finely sliced

Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 tablespoon sweet smoked paprika

1x 400g tin of tomatoes, or 400g cherry tomatoes, halved

1 ripe avocado

Juice of 1 lime

A small bunch of fresh coriander, leaves picked and finely chopped

4 organic or free-range eggs

2 wholemeal or corn tortillas


Heat a splash of oil in a medium frying pan (one with a lid that fits) over a moderate heat. Add the spring onions and garlic and fry for 5 minutes, until soft and sweet. Add a good pinch of salt and pepper and the smoked paprika and cook for another couple of  minutes.

Next, add the tomatoes and simmer for 5 minutes, until they have broken down and the sauce has thickened.

In the meantime, mash the avocado with the lime juice (I use a potato masher) and the chopped coriander, season with salt and pepper, and put to one side.

Once the tomatoes have broken down and thickened, turn the heat down to medium-low. Make 4 small holes in the sauce with the back of a wooden spoon by pushing the sauce out of the way. Crack an egg into each of the holes, season each egg with a little salt and pepper, then pop the lid on and leave to cook for exactly 5 minutes.

After 5 minutes the egg whites should be set with just a hint of a wobble, with the yolks runny in the middle. Remember, they will keep cooking as you take them to the table.

While the eggs are cooking, warm the tortillas – I do this by holding each one over a gas flame with a pair of tongs for a few seconds on each side to char, but 20-30 seconds on each side in a warm non-stick pan will work just as well.

Once the eggs are ready, pile them on to a plate with a decent helping of the spicy tomatoes and mashed avocado, and scoop up with the charred tortillas.’

If you have a go at cooking any of our FoodFrom4th recipes, we’d love to know. Tweet us at @4thEstateBooks and use the hashtag #FoodFrom4th

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