Monday, August 26, 2013

Monday Morning Munchies - Ciao Huevos: The Italian-Mexican Egg Bake

Sometimes...who am I kidding...many times, I scavenge my refrigerator and put together whatever random ingredients I have in there.  Yes, I do love finding new recipes and using unique ingredients that I don't typically have sitting around in my house, especially when I get a random craving for something, but constant grocery purchases can lead to both an expensive grocery bill and an over accumulation of a ton of various foods in the fridge.  This usually makes my refrigerator look like a Polish, Asian, American, Italian, Mexican, Everythingian explosion...emphasis on the explosion.  What better way to clean up the fridge (and to prevent waste!) than by combining flavors and ingredients from different cultures! After all, culture-specific dishes occasionally include ingredients and ideas that were first introduced to the country through the trade routes long ago (did you know Marco Polo brought the idea of "pizza" to Italy from his Chinese journey?).


This Italian-Mexican-Inspired Egg Bake combines the spiciness of Mexican food along with fresh, savory ingredients popular in Italian cooking.  While it requires a little bit of baking time, this dish is relatively simple with just a little layering, a few chops with a knife, and three or four minutes of sauteing.

Ingredients (serving size - 2):
  1. 2 eggs
  2. 3 tbsp. water
  3. approximately 2 cups of fresh spinach, more or less depending on how much you like spinach
  4. 2 medium-sized button mushrooms, cubed - feel free to use any other kind of mushrooms you enjoy
  5. 1 clove garlic, crushed
  6. 1 medium yellow onion, cut into round slices
  7. 4 thinner slices of ham - I used lunch meat because that's what we had, but if you have fresh baked ham, you can use thinly-cut slices from that
  8. 3/4 cup to 1 cup salsa - I used a "medium" pico de gallo, but adjust the spiciness level depending on whether you are brave and like spicy food or a chicken (like me - hey, it's not a bad thing, we are just delicate...maybe that's a better word than chicken...when did chickens gain such a negative connotation anyway...I like chickens!).  Also, I opted for a pico de gallo because I love the chunky texture and distinct flavors of all the fresh ingredients, especially the tomatoes, but you can use any kind of salsa you so wish - even combine pico de gallo with tomatillo or salsa verde, etc.  
  9. Salt, pepper, paprika, and chili powder - all to taste (sorry, I did not measure these ingredients at all; I just tossed them into the eggs.  If you are unsure of how much to use of each spice, mix the spices together in a bowl first, adding just a little of each at a time.  Then, go ahead and taste it prior to adding it to the eggs - you will have a better sense of what you need to add)
  10. 1 1/2 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil or cooking spray
Recipe:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and lightly coat the sides and bottom of a baking dish with 1/2 tbsp. olive oil or cooking spray.  In a bowl, whisk together eggs, water, and spices to taste.  Pour around 1 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil in a large skillet, and lightly wipe with a paper towel, spreading the olive oil around the whole pan and soaking up any excess oil.  Heat the skillet on medium heat - you know it is hot 'n ready when you sprinkle some water on the pan and it sizzles.  Place the onion slices on the hot skillet, fry once on each side until the sides are a little browned (this should only be a minute or two on each side), remove the onions, and set aside.  Toss in the mushrooms and garlic.  Saute for about 2 minutes, or until the mushrooms slightly brown.  After two minutes, throw in the spinach and stir so that the mushrooms and spinach are nicely mixed together.  Once the spinach is wilted, remove the spinach and mushroom mixture, and evenly layer it on the bottom of the baking dish.  And so starts the layering!  On top of the spinach and mushrooms, top with ham and then salsa.  Use this order because it is easier to spread out the salsa evenly.  Pour the eggs over the salsa, and place the roasted onion rings all over the top.  Place the baking dish into the oven and cook for around 30-35 minutes.  It may require more or less time depending on your oven; the dish is ready when a toothpick can be inserted into the middle of the bake and removed cleanly (the eggs will be solidified, not runny).  Let cool for a few minutes and serve!

As with many dishes, you can be as creative as you want - sprinkle on some taco cheese or add in peppers from your garden.  I used what I had in my fridge, feel free to use what you have in yours - for instance, substitute kabanos for the ham, potato salad for the salsa, shiitake mushrooms for the buttons, and bok choy for the spinach and make Konichiwa Jajka: The Asian-Polish Egg Bake!  Hmmm...might have to try that one...

Happy refrigerator clearing!

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