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