Chilaquiles are “casserole dishes of varying ingredients” made of leftover tortillas or chips. According to Sunset Mexican Cookbook, a 1969 publication I picked up for 50 cents at the Fairplay Library book sale last summer, they are sometimes called “Poor Man’s Dish” for this reason.
The same cookbook explains that Mexican cuisine occasionally utilizes the “strange” vegetable, “verdolagas,” which is Spanish for purslane! If you don’t know purslane (Portulaca oleracea) already, you should. This garden weed is extremely nutritious raw, supposedly containing more omega 3 fatty acids than some fish oils. It is so ubiquitous that people weed it out of their gardens and toss it into the compost heap without a second thought. Purslane’s fleshy leaves are also common alongside sidewalks, where the plant can often be found growing in abundance.
Since purslane is about to be the wild ingredient of the month at Hunger & Thirst’s July recipe round up, and since my life is about to take a very busy twist, I figured I’d better throw some purslane into my chilaquiles right quick and bang out a recipe before I start going completely insane.
Chilaquiles are often served as breakfast fare. They are a great way to use up those leftover chips and salsa folks usually toss after dining out at a Mexican restaurant, particularly if the place makes its own chips.
- 2 handfuls of tortilla chips
- 2 eggs
- a splash of milk
- ¼ to ½ cup salsa or pico de gallo
- 1 slice of cheddar
- ½ cup chopped purslane leaves and stems
- Beat eggs together with milk.
- Stir in salsa, cheese, and tortilla chips, tossing until the chips are coated.
- Give it a minute to meld while heating a smidgeon of oil in a pan.
- Cook the mixture, flipping or mixing occasionally, until the eggs are almost cooked.
- Throw in the purslane and cook for a few minutes longer.
- Serve with more salsa or pico de gallo on the side.
- Note: The chips will no longer be crunchy. As the cookbook explains, they will have “acquired a firm, meaty quality something like chicken.” Or, not like chicken, if you are vegetarian and prefer not to think of it that way…
- Makes a small breakfast for two.
And that’s all she wrote!
For more information and recipe ideas for purslane, see my July 2010 Wild Edible Notebook. To get it, sign up by scrolling to the bottom of the page and then doing what it tells you to do.