“They got to have ’em in Texas / ‘Cause everyone’s a millionaire”
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I’m fairly sure I became a Supertramp fan due to my brief flirtation with art and prog rock in high school. It may be hard to see how Top 40 tunes like “Give A Little Bit” or “Logical Song” or the inspiration for this recipe share any musical DNA with the likes of ELP, Yes, Alan Parsons Project, et. al. but that’s kind of the genius a handful of Top 40 bands in this era. Those late ’70s / early ’80s bands took the musicianship of prog rock, dropped the sci-fi/fantasy for darker themes of love and relationships, and grafted on a solid dose of hummable earwigs. They created a sort of catchy literary pop-rock that found favor on both AM and FM radio equally. I’ve always felt Supertramp was the least appreciated of this new crop of smart pop bands. Their catchy pop tunes are brilliant musical arrangements coupled with smart sometimes snarky lyrics. Essentially they were the British Steely Dan without ever getting SD-level accolades.
I am aware the lyric actually refers to “kippers for breakfast” but I believe it’s also a good fit for breakfast tacos. I could go off on a rant about how a breakfast taco IS “breakfast in America” – a melting pot of Texas flour tortilla, Mexican pico, Wisconsin yellow cheddar, Irish roasted potatoes, and scrambled egg – but I won’t.
I have never really been much of a breakfast person. Coffee usually does it for me. I would bet I’ve eaten more “breakfast for dinner” or “drunk late night soak up alcohol breakfast” than actual “just woke up need breakfast” meals. As far as brunch goes – NO! That’s not just my professional cooking hatred showing, I truly hate the entire brunch concept. You should either serve breakfast or serve lunch and I won’t get into my opinions on those who enjoy brunching.
When I do find myself cooking breakfast, it results in one of three items: breakfast sandwich, breakfast burrito or breakfast taco. The fact two of my three go-to items are of Tex Mex origin is not surprising. I’m a sucker of anything in a tortilla. While I have found quite a few solid breakfast burritos in Brooklyn, I can honestly say most breakfast tacos have been lacking. So when the craving hits, I’ll be making my version of a Texas breakfast taco.
My philosophy is to keep it simple and vegetarian. I’ve found bacon or chorizo makes for too greasy an experience resulting in soggy tortillas. Sticking with a diner holy trinity – eggs, potato and toast (here toast is tortilla) – and tossing in a bit of cheese and pico makes for a perfect balance. Yes, they will still be messy. Any taco worth eating should be messy. They won’t, however, make you feel like you need to go back to bed after your breakfast.
You will definitely have leftover pico de gallo and that’s not a problem. It makes a great snack with tortilla chips, a killer addition to a grilled cheese or just make some burritos.
BREAKFAST IN AMERICA
Frambled eggs, yellow cheddar, pico de gallo, roasted red potatoes, pickled jalapeno, Aleppo pepper flakes, sea salt, flour tortilla
Makes 3 tacos
1 medium red potato, washed and cut into bite-size pieces
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 tablespoons butter
1/4 cup yellow cheddar, shredded
3 tablespoons Pico de gallo (see recipe below)
9 pickled jalapeno slices
3 flour tortillas
Aleppo pepper flakes
Add the vegetable oil to a heavy skillet – preferably cast iron – over medium heat. Let the oil get hot then add the red potatoes tossing to coat in oil and arrange as a single layer. Cover pan and let the potatoes cook for 15 minutes.
CAREFULLY uncover pan – the grease will be splattering & condensation will form on the lid. Stir the potatoes and season with salt & black pepper. Let cook, uncovered, for another 2-3 minutes. Potatoes should be tender but not mushy. When done, remove potatoes from pan with a slotted spoon and transfer to a paper towel-lined plate.
Toast three tortillas in a pan or – if you live dangerously as I do – over an open flame. Set aside.
In an egg pan over medium heat, melt butter until foamy. Crack and add the eggs as if you were making sunny side up eggs. Let the eggs cook until the whites set up. Using a spatula, start stirring the whites to incorporate any uncooked whites but try to not break the yolks yet. Don’t worry if you do – just try not to at this point. Once the whites are mostly cooked, break the yolks and mix the cooked whites and yolks together. Turn the heat off and let the residual heat finish cooking the eggs. I prefer a fairly soft framble for this with a bit of uncooked yolk – but you do you.
To assemble the taco, place a third of the cheddar on a tortilla. Top with a third of the eggs – a third of the potatoes – 1 tablespoon of pico de gallo – 3 pickled jalapenos – and finish with a sprinkling of Aleppo pepper flakes and sea salt. Add a few dashes of hot sauce if that’s your thing.
PICO DE GALLO
Makes 3 cups
1 plum tomato – cored, seeded and diced fine
1 poblano, diced fine
1 red pepper, diced fine
1 jalapeno, diced fine
1/2 red onion diced fine
1 lime, juiced
2 teaspoon Mexican oregano
1 teaspoon cumin
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon black pepper
Place the tomato, peppers, and onion in a medium bowl. Add lime juice and spices. Mix thoroughly. Let it rest on the counter for 15 minutes. Place in a storage container and store in the refrigerator.