For something different to break up the brunch monotony. For your gluten-free guests. For when you need to cook for a tribe on a budget.


You want to make chilaquiles. I know you do.

Consisting of fried corn tortillas, cheese and salsa, this Mexican breakfast can be—and often is—fortified with the crack of an egg.

It’s cheap (my grocery bill for this recipe was under $20) and fast to make (under 20 minutes).

Many maize dishes on your gourmet getaway can be challenging to replicate because good masa is hard to come by (or expensive) in some areas.

But you can master chilaquiles. Stale and day-old tortilla scraps are meant for chilaquiles. Like fried rice, this dish is born out of leftovers.

I’m about to show you: the. best. damn. chilaquiles. recipe. ever. It comes from Gabriel Chavez who once ran the critically acclaimed Chavez Mexican restaurant on Seattle’s Capitol Hill.

Four reasons why this is the only chilaquiles recipe you will ever need.

The mozzarella adds a layer of umami and binds all the ingredients for a consistent bite.

The sizzling olive oil wakes up these stale corn tortillas and punches up the flavor by a factor of three.

This green sauce has a brighter, vibrant flavor than many brunch takes around town.

This green sauce is also easier to make than those red salsas. No need to de-seed. This recipe calls for the earthy stems of the cilantro. No cilantro leaf plucking needed.

Now, a word about how this dish should be served since its sudden popularity has created much discussion over presentation and authenticity. I usually see it served with just a fried egg in Mexico.

But here I once saw a family look agape when flaxseed was sprinkled onto this tortilla casserole. I’ve heard that scrambled eggs is a no-no and that only a sunny side egg can sit atop chilaquiles. Pay these so-called purists no mind.

America is a melting pot. We incorporate dishes of our homelands to the seasonal ingredients available in our produce aisle. Our recipes get reinterpreted and evolve all the time.

Seattle’s most famous chef, Tom Douglas, fancies up chilaquiles with king crab at Etta’s by Pike Place Market.

Jack’s BBQ in Amazonland serves it with a Central-Texas-style barbecue chicken breast.

Chavez, a proud born-and-bred native of Durango, Mexico, uses two staples (mozzarella and olive oil) you would find in the Italian kitchen where he’s an executive chef—Cantinetta in Seattle’s Wallingford.

In other words, if you don’t want to trek to the market to buy Mexican chorizo as some chilaquiles recipes suggest, the Jimmy Dean in your fridge will do just fine. Your kids will love it.

To paraphrase from Michael Mann’s “Collateral”: improvise, adapt, I Ching. Whatever man. Just roll with it.

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