August 18, 2013
Michigan summer seems to be hitting a crescendo this weekend, and if you are on the Michigan State University campus the signs that autumn is around the corner are visible everywhere. The international students are showing up and the construction barriers are coming down. I woke up this morning and made migas for a whole houseful of company. As Madeline Kahn once sang, “I’m tired. Tired of coming and going and going and coming.” So instead of putting a lot of energy in the blog this week, I’m going to tell you how you can make migas almost entirely from stuff you have gotten through Thornapple CSA. This would especially be true if you have added some Grazing Fields eggs to your weekly share pick-up, because basically, migas is an egg dish.
If I was making migas, (and I just did a couple of hours earlier this morning) I would start by cutting up some tomatillos into roughly ½ inch chunks, and then I would sauté them in olive oil with some crushed and minced garlic until they just barely start to liquify. And then I would turn off the heat, put a lid on it and set it aside. I would have all the chopped peppers, onions and tomatoes that I planned to use handy. I used all three pepper varieties we have gotten from the Thornapple CSA this year, and I have to say that the poblanos are a pretty luxurious and sensational add for migas. You can add jalapenos, if you like, but I didn’t have any this morning. I used some of the romas for tomato, but that was only because we’ve been feasting on all the other tomatoes this week like there was not tomorrow. But romas work fine for migas, chopped into any bite-sized chunk.
Before you get ready to cook, aggressively stir up as many eggs as you plan to cook in a bowl. I usually add a dash of buttermilk, but if you are trying to stay close to the Thornapple share box, call that optional. Ditto the dash of hot sauce in the egg mix. Now you are ready to start heating up that skillet.
You are going to have to use some cooking oil, and that, I’m afraid, is simply not in the share box. I always have a few different oils in the cabinet and this morning I pulled down the olive oil. Begin with the peppers on a medium high heat, and when you are satisfied that they are cooked, throw in the onion. When the onions start to get glassy, turn down the heat. At this point you can also use some of that fine cilantro we’ve been getting, if you like. Now you pour in the eggs. They are best if they cook slowly, and if you continue to lift them off the bottom of the skillet as they first start to firm up, kind of like you were cooking a very gently scrambled egg or an omelet. When a little more than half of the egg blend has started to get firm, you add the tomatillos and garlic that you set aside a little earlier, and just before the mixture is firming up you will add the tomato chunks. Obviously, you’re going to be thoroughly stirring and mixing when you add all these things.
You are now getting close enough to call people to the table. After you added the tomatoes, the whole glop will get a little liquidy again, and that’s when to toss in a handful or two of broken up tortilla chips. If you are into the local thing, you are going to be buying a bag from the Ann Arbor Tortilla Factory, because we don’t have very good chips here in Lansing. I suppose I would use some leftovers from Alicia’s if I needed to, but actually AATF chips hold up to migas pretty well. I use “original” which just means they are not bogged down with garlic or lime or such, but each to his own taste, I suppose. You are going to stir these in too, which will take a bit of dexterity to insure that the chips are getting coated with what’s left of the egg mixture. If you add the chips too soon, you will just have a soggy mess, and if you add them too late, it will taste like you threw scrambled eggs on top of your nachos. In neither case do you have migas.
The last step is to throw in a handful or two of shredded cheese—also not a Thornapple item, but hey cut me some slack. Mix it in quickly, turn of the heat and put the lid on for only a minute or two. You can serve them on a plate or taco-style. Some beans go nice on the side, too. I realize I haven’t been too effusive about the proportions, but what can you expect from a blogger who uses words like “effusive” in a recipe? Do what Cole Porter recommends: Experiment. Be curious. Though interfering friends may frown, get furious at each attempt to hold you down. If this advice you’ll only employ the future can offer you infinite joy. And merriment. Experiment and you’ll see.
There’s really only one serious question to ask here, and that’s for what distinguishes migas from chilaquiles. I’m not talking.
Paul B. Thompson is the W.K. Kellogg Professor of Agricultural, Food and Community Ethics at Michigan State University