Makes 4 eggs; serves 2 to 4 and 3 3?4 pounds masa; about forty 5- to 6-inch tortillas
You Will Need
Corn Tortilla Dough from Scratch
Masa para tortillas
As an alternative to using dried tortilla flour (masa harina) to make corn tortillas, you can start with dried corn kernels. The process of boiling and soaking the corn with processed powdered limestone (cal) is called nixtamalizado, and it softens the corn so the skins can be removed and the kernels can be ground. While this process also releases some of the corn’s nutrients (in particular niacin, so it can be absorbed by the body), it also is what gives tortillas their unique flavor.
Hominy is a good substitution for dried corn because it is widely available in supermarkets in the U.S. Hominy are large white kernels and are usually sold pelado, or peeled,so the step of rubbing the skins off is not necessary.
?Brands such as Goya® are labeled “giant white corn/maiz mote pelado.” If you have a Mexican grocer near you, look for regular dried white or blue corn kernels (don’t use popcorn kernels!). Or order blue corn pozole (and cal) from www.latinmerchant.com.
Bring the 3 quarts water to a boil in a 5- to 6-quart pot. Add the corn and bring back to a boil. Restir the cal in the cup of water (it will turn milky), then stir into the pot (the corn will turn yellow). Turn the heat down and cook, without boiling, stirring occasionally, until some of skin rubs off a kernel (if using regular dried corn) when rubbed hard between your fingers, about 5 minutes.
Turn off the heat and let the corn soak at room temperature for at least 8 hours and up to 24.
Rub the corn kernels against each other in the pot with your hands, grabbing a handful at a time to rub off skins (which will now rub off easily; omit this step if using peeled corn), then rinse in several changes of cold water to remove the skin residue and the cal. Drain the corn.
Working in batches of 2 cups of corn and 1?4 to 1?3 cup water, process the corn in a food processor, pulsing about 20 times, then puréeing for about 5 minutes, scraping down the sides occasionally, or until the masa no longer feels gritty.
Transfer each batch of masa (you will have about 4 batches) to a wide bowl as they're processed. Mix in the salt with your hands.
Make tortillas as described in Corn Tortillas from Tortilla Flour on pp. 9–11.
Note: The tortilla dough will keep chilled in a sealed plastic bag for ?2 days.
The cook for Mexican artist Carmen (Ricky) Parra, who lives on the Pacific coast near Zihautanejo, makes this dish for breakfast. To make it, you have to first make tortillas from raw tortilla dough. When the tortillas puff, take them off the fire, slit them open, and plop a raw egg inside (hence the name). Then reseal the partially cooked tortilla and put it back on the fire to finish cooking along with the egg.
Heat a large, flat griddle over medium heat until hot, about 2 minutes.
Pinch off 1 1?2 ounces of dough to make a 1 1?2-inch ball, then press in a tortilla press between two rounds of plastic to yield a 6-inch tortilla.
Peel off 1 plastic round, then, holding the tortilla over the edge of your palm, carefully peel off the other round so the tortilla is dangling from your palm. Transfer the tortilla to the griddle by letting the dangling edge touch it and slowly pulling your hand back as you lay the tortilla down on the griddle. This will take a little practice, but it is better than flipping a tortilla onto the griddle, because it rarely ends up lying flat.
Cook until the edges lift just slightly from the griddle, about ?15 seconds. Turn over (you can lift the edge of the tortilla with a butter knife or spatula to help you but then grab it with your fingers and flip it over). Cook until a few faint brown spots appear on the underside, about 45 seconds. Turn over again and cook until the tortilla inflates (pressing on the edges of the tortilla with your fingers will help it inflate; if the tortilla doesn’t inflate it won’t work for this dish so finish cooking it—45 seconds—and move on to the next one). Remove the inflated tortilla from the heat with a spatula (it will not be fully cooked). Use the point of a sharp knife to slit the edge of the pocket large enough to drop in an egg.
Crack an egg in a cup then, holding the tortilla open with one hand, pour the egg in with the other hand along with a small sprinkling of salt, and seal the tortilla with a little water on your fingers as best you can; return to the griddle. Repeat with the remaining tortillas.
Cook the filled tortillas, turning them over once, until the whites are cooked, 31?2 to 4 minutes.
To serve, put some whole beans on each plate and put the egg-filled tortillas on top. Drizzle with one of the salsas and sprinkle with the cheese.
Accompaniments: Warm Cooked Beans in Broth, Tomatillo-Chipotle Salsa or Cooked Tomatillo Salsa, crumbled queso fresco