Ways of Making Eggs Interesting: Machaca

Prototypical breakfast food, frequently boring as bread

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By David Hammond

Eggs are perhaps the prototypical breakfast food. Consequently, they're frequently as boring as bread:   usually, unworthy of comment.

So I'm always eager to find ways of making eggs interesting.

Recently, at Hotel Guaycura in Todos Santos, a small town in Baja California, about 90 minutes north of the more famous Cabo St. Lucas, I had what was called on the menu a "burrito."  This burrito was a small plug of eggs, with onions, tomato sauce and …machaca.

Machaca is dried beef (it's also called "carne seca"), and it's very common in the northern states of Mexico where there's more cattle. Drying the beef to a jerky-like consistency makes it safer to store without refrigeration, and the drying process also removes water and concentrates the flavor of the meat. It's wonderful when a food safety necessity yields a culinary advantage.

The burrito contained shreds of the dried beef, rehydrated and mixed through the egg mixture.  I was told that the way to eat this burrito was to deconstruct the it (i.e., mush it all around the plate), add black beans, and eat the whole thing in a flour tortilla (flour tortillas being more common than corn tortillas in Northern Mexico). There was also a dark-red-almost-black salsa that was terrific over the relatively mild tasting egg and bean mixture.

I'd never had eggs this way before and so, for just one morning, eggs were made interesting to me again.

Do you have a favorite egg preparation that goes beyond sunny-side/over-easy/scrambled or skillet?

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