Cauliflower migas

A plate of migas, crumbled tortilla chips softened by scrambling in eggs, with a stainless steel fork buried in them. Dashes of bright red hot sauce dot the dish, and a mug of coffee stands at the ready plateside.

So. It’s a week post-Thanksgiving, and the leftovers are beginning to dwindle. The stuffing’s gone, the turkey’s almost out, the mashed potatoes didn’t even make it to Sunday. But what about the crudités?

[Yeah, crudités. This is a thing with other families too, maybe? My grandmother, for any big festive meal, likes to have a crudité platter, as well as sometimes a relish tray (by which we mean some gherkins and canned black olives that basically only I eat). And though in general I’m all about the veggies and dip, on Thanksgiving — the biggest day of the amateur competitive eating year — they just sit there unloved. Your family doesn’t have this weirdness, okay, but just go with my framing device for this post.]

A swirl of butter in a nonstick pan, the pale yellow pat standing out against the black surface, buffered by a blanket of tiny bubbles

So you have your basically-untouched crudités in the fridge, maybe getting nibbled at or thrown in a stirfy, what have you, but the cauliflower is just languishing because raw cauliflower is just the worst. (We have discussed this before.) I have one word for you: migas.

Migas literally means ‘crumbs’ in Spanish, and it’s an ancient dish in Spain of bread soaked in flavorful liquid, a means of using old, dry bread, much like French toast. In Mexico, the tradition morphed to use fried day-old corn tortilla strips as the base, with eggs as the moistener (much like matzoh brei — like I said, this is a common culinary idea). And north of the border in Tex-Mex cuisine the preparations sometimes become much more elaborate, involving fresh vegetables, cheese, etc.

On a wooden counter, bowls of ingredients: cauliflower, garlic, crushed tortillas chips, a jar of salsa, a bowl of eggs with a dollop of salsa already in it.

While I’ve definitely fried up tortilla strips to make migas, at home I usually cut corners and make migas in a terribly-lazy-but-delicious Tex-Mex fashion: I use crushed tortilla chips (i.e. pre-fried tortillas), and I mix salsa into the eggs instead of prepping fresh vegetables. The salty chips and the salsa also incidentally season the whole dish, which is a nice bonus.

In a black nonstick pan, well-browned bits of cauliflower sizzle in butter, with a shower of chopped garlic just dropped in the middle of it all.

Closeup on a forkful of migas, the soft edges of the moistened tortilla chips constrasting with the hard metal of the tines, the round curves of cauliflower bits, and the clear cross-section cut of garlic resting on top

While I often put a little sausage or ham in my migas, in this case I decided to make good use of leftover cauliflower and transform it into delicious migas filling. As the cauliflower cooks and softens, the butter browns around it, coating each little nubbin of sweetening cruciferous vegetable in tiny flecks of browned milk solids as a nutty smell rises from the pan. It tastes great, it uses up poor-unloved cauliflower, and if made at scale it can stretch an already economical dish even further. What’s more to love?

A plate of migas dotted with hot sauce, carefully arranged with a fork to the side, a mug of coffee to the upper right, and a bottle of hot sauce to the upper left.

Cauliflower migas

  • Servings: 1-2
  • Time: 15 minutes
  • Print

A slightly different take on typical Tex-Mex migas, designed to make things as easy as possible for you and to use up the pesky cauliflower which sometimes appears in your fridge unexpectedly. I make migas quite frequently, and this was a great switchup.

Ingredients

1 Tbsp butter
1 to 2 c finely chopped cauliflower
5 cl. garlic, minced
1 c crushed tortilla chips (about 3 handfuls)
3 eggs, lightly beaten
2 Tbsp salsa (whatever you like)
Salt

To serve: Hot sauce, sour cream, and/or crumbly cheese (e.g. cotija, feta)

Directions

In a medium or large nonstick skillet, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the cauliflower and a light sprinkle of salt and cook, stirring occasionally, until browned and soft (about 8 minutes on my stove). Add the garlic and cook for another minute or so.

Add the crushed tortilla chips and toss, then gather them into a pile on one side of the skillet. Pour the eggs and salsa over the chips, then stir, tossing everything together, to coat all the chips in the egg mixture. Continue cooking until the eggs are set, another minute or so.

Serve with hot sauce, sour cream, and/or a crumbly cheese. Enjoy!

Options

You can strip this down to its barest elements by making it with just chips, eggs, and salsa. I prefer the slightly more involved version, of course, but sometimes cooking’s more about just feeding yourself, and I get that.

I often include a cured pork product in my migas: a little bit of diced ham, some smoked sausage, a slice of bacon, cooked and crumbled — whatever you like. That can go with the cauliflower, or instead of it.

By a similar token, you can add other vegetables here; I usually have some onion in there, but happened to be out on the day I was photographing this, spur of the moment. Peppers, sweet or hot, are also lovely. Pretty much anything can work; just remember that this really is a simple, quick dish, so don’t go too overboard.

Yes, of course you can add cheese along with the eggs. As if you had to ask.

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One response to “Cauliflower migas

  1. I haven’t even read this yet.

    I saw the word “cauliflower” and thought, “I like cauliflower.”

    Then I saw “migas” and all I could say was, “I’m in like Flynn.” I adore migas. It one of my go-to weekend breakfasts.

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