It’s time to document an embarrassingly simple dish. I I threw this together in desperation some months ago, and it’s become a staple dish ’round these parts. It’s not remotely authentic, it’s so easy that it barely qualifies as cooking, and it’s not even got a proper name. I’ve taken to calling it “huevos,” purely to distinguish it from the simpler egg dishes we eat daily.
Uh, except that lately, “huevos” is what we eat daily. It’s a great hearty breakfast, a fine simple dinner, or an easy lunch. We always have the few ingredients on hand, and even if we didn’t, we could pick them up in any corner market. I like it with warmed tortillas (corn or flour) on the side, or arepas, or a handful of corn chips, or a piece of toast. Garnish it with a scant palmful of grated cheese, a spoonful of diced tomatoes, a scallion quickly cut up with kitchen scissors, or nothing at all.
huevos con whatnot, to serve two hungry people
In a frying pan over medium, heat a few drops of oil (I like olive oil) or a sliver of butter, and in it toast a generous teaspoon of cumin and most of two scallions, sliced with scissors*. (Reserve an inch of the green tops for a garnish.) When scallions and cumin are fragrant, add a dash of oregano and of chili powder.
Drain and rinse a can of black beans, approx. 15 oz. Don’t bother to drain them again, just plunk them in the pan**, along with a generous slug of whatever salsa is kicking around the fridge shelves. Jarred is fine; we use Newman’s Own, which — astoundingly — contains the same things I would put in homemade salsa, with no complex chemical preservatives.
Add a coffeemug’s worth of water. (You could make this red wine, or sherry, or tomato juice, but water is fine.) Clap a lid on, and let the whole mess bubble away while you make your coffee/check your email/answer the phone.
Come back and peek under that lid. Is it a thick, soupy mess? Good. Stir it up from the bottom to prevent sticking. Turn the heat down.
When everything stops bubbling, pull the pan off the heat. With the back of a large spoon, make a well in the beans and crack an egg into it. (You want it liquidy enough so that soupy goo fills the well. If it doesn’t, stir in a little more water before adding your eggs.) Repeat with as many eggs as you like; we usually have two eggs each. Salt and pepper the eggs generously. If you want cheese, now is as good a time as any to add it. I like just a scant sprinkle of cheddar or Monterey Jack, but have cheerfully used mozzarella instead, or no cheese at all.
Replace the lid and let the eggs slowly poach in the bean liquid until they are nearly as done as you like. The Fella likes his eggs hard while I like mine runny, so I often cook his for a few minutes before adding mine.
Gently spoon the eggs, one at a time, into shallow bowls, and surround with spoonfuls of the bean mixture. Top with fresh ground pepper and remaining sliced scallions, if desired, or with chopped tomato, or a spoonful of salsa, or with cilantro, or with sour cream, or with hot sauce. You get it.
*optional additions at this point: chopped fresh tomatoes; one minced onion; cooked cubed sweet potato.
**optional additions at this point: minced garlic; canned tomatoes with juice.