Hello and welcome to another installment of Ignorant American Fusion, in which I make up dishes that bear a slight resemblance to an uninformed ’Merickan’s image of a quote-unquote “ethnic” dish. In this case, I made an egg-cheese-tortilla bake that was sort of like a Mexican version of a strata, assuming of course that you are an ignorant American. It works to easily feed a group for a brunch, lunch or dinner. I’m still trying to come up with a good name for this, so if you think of one, please share in the comments.
So this entrée was invented the last time it was my turn to host
wine book group. The way our book group works is, we meet monthly (there are usually 6 to 10 of us); everyone brings a bottle of wine; and the hostess provides the food and gets to pick the next book. A fair number of our members are vegetarians, so I wanted to do a hearty veggie main that could be prepped in advance and easily reheated. Since I was “hosting” at my friend Karen’s apartment due to renovations in progress at my own, I also needed something I could transport easily. This is what I came up with. (I also served black bean empanadas as an app, but that’s a whole nother post.)
I bought a package of 8-inch soft corn tortillas (I think 10 count), a jar of Goya sofrito (you could also use salsa), a block of Jack cheese, a block of what my Met Foods calls “queso de freir”—a melty cheese—plus a dozen eggs, and the kind of disposable aluminum roasting dish you might get to cook a turkey or lasagna in.
After preheating the oven to 375°, I greased the bottom and sides of the dish with butter. Then I cut the tortillas into wedge shapes and arranged a layer across the bottom of the pan.
I then scattered a layer of crumbled queso and shredded jack cheese on top, sprinkled some paprika, and dotted this with sofrito, then repeated until the tortillas were gone—ending with cheese and sofrito on top. (Seriously, how has Goya not yet approached me for an endorsement deal?!?! This is getting insulting....)
I whisked the eggs with maybe 1/2 cup of milk, salt, and pepper, then poured it into the roasting dish, jiggled it a bit so the egg got in all the crevices, and stuck it in the oven. Since I intended to reheat it, I cooked it until it was set but not quite golden brown (to avoid drying out during the reheating process). At the book group, I reheated the dish covered in foil, then removed the foil for the last few minutes so it did get nice and browned. After letting it cool slightly, I scattered some chopped scallions on top, then transferred it from the pan to a wooden cutting board and sliced it into squares.
Super easy! You could add diced red and/or green peppers, and/or chorizo to this—mushrooms would also be worth a shot but I would sauté them first so they didn’t make it too liquidy.
Serve to 6 to 8 opinionated women, paired with lots of cheap white wine…and voila, instant book group! (Technically, I guess you’d also need a book, but whatevs.)