Any of you who have read this blog for any amount of time will know two things: we love eggs and we love taco salads – and I’ve been thinking to myself for awhile how I might combine these two loves of mine into one delicious dish. A play on the classic huevos rancheros seemed in order, but I have to admit that fried eggs are easily my least favorite way to make eggs – and most versions of huevos rancheros you find come with the eggs fried. I prefer my eggs poached, and so the solution was simple: make a slow-cooked homemade spicy salsa and use that to poach my egg, and instead of the traditional corn tortillas and chili sauce, serve it over grilled chicken and black beans in a crispy flour tortilla bowl with just a smattering of mixed greens and cheese. The resulting dish looks rather messy but it’s very delicious, and the poached egg’s creamy texture blends well with the beans and chicken.
For the salsa, you can go as simple or as labor-intensive as you’d like. Regular bottled salsa works just fine for this, or you can cook down onions, tomatoes, and peppers and flavor it any way you like. For the salsa at the right, I did a bit of both – I used the last little bit of a jar of Pace picante sauce, and added tomato sauce, jalapeno peppers, diced onion, lime juice, and cilantro. You want to get a nice balance of thin and chunky – thin enough so that you can achieve a proper simmer, but chunky enough that the salsa will support the egg. To poach, bring your salsa to a light simmer, then crack an egg into a measuring cup and gently slip it in, creating a pocket to hold the egg (see above left). Keep the salsa simmering, and soon enough you’ll see the egg white start to solidify (see above right). The egg is done when the white is completely opaque and set and the yolk is thickened but not solid.
To build your salad, make a shell by spraying a burrito-sized flour tortilla with non-fat cooking spray. Place the tortilla between two ceramic bowls and microwave for 3-4 minutes until the bowl is crisp. Be careful, though, those bowls will get very hot! Layer black beans, mixed salad greens, grilled chicken, and cheese in the bowl and top with the poached egg and as much of the salsa as you’d like. Once you break the yolk and mix all this good stuff together you’ll have a very unique and delicious taco salad. Eggs are too often relegated to breakfast, but I think they’re an every-meal food item, and they’re very good for you to boot. Poaching eggs can take some practice, but it really is one of the most delicious ways to eat eggs and a skill worth learning. Enjoy!