Know your Spanish eggs and get some at Hogtails

Know your Spanish eggs and get some at Hogtails

Cinco de Mayo — the big May 5 celebration in Mexico — is almost upon us, so it is fitting, I think, to consider Spanish eggs: huevos.

Literally, the popular dish huevos rancheros translates from the Spanish as “rancher’s eggs,” but we would say “country-style eggs.” It’s a traditional breakfast that might be consumed in regions of Mexico’s farm land. Cinco de Mayo celebrates a battle victory, which likely included some feisty ranchers, over an invading French army in 1861.

French chef Auguste Escoffier, who would have been cooking at the time of the battle of Puebla, reputedly had 600 ways to prepare eggs — which just seems silly. (He was probably compensating for his short height with the bravado of an encyclopedic collection of egg recipes: he was so short in physical stature that he had to have platform shoes made so he could reach the stove to cook.)

Despite their deliciosity, let’s not let these eggs have the spotlight of exclusivity: there are many other Spanish egg dishes. Huevos duros are hard-boiled eggs; huevos pasados por agua soft-boiled. Huevos escalfados are poached eggs — my favourite. Fried eggs — which you have probably figured out — are huevos fritos, while huevos revueltos are scrambled. Finally, if you prepare two sauces for the eggs — a green sauce for one egg and a red sauce for the other — the dish is called huevos divorciados (“divorced eggs”).

Still, those rancher’s eggs are a thing of beauty. One of many good examples of the dish here in the Region might be found on the weekend menu at Hogtails BBQ in north Waterloo. It’s made with poached eggs, refried beans, avocado, cilantro, salsa, sour cream, tortillas and crispy fried potatoes. Poaching is a cooking technique where the eggs are submerged in a liquid that is just barely boiling, at between 160- and 180-degrees.

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