Happy Pre-Columbian Day

In honor of the ever-controversial Columbus Day (no longer observed even here at Columbia University) I decided to whip up something Pre-Columbian from Spirit of the Earth, a collection of traditional Mesoamerican and South American recipes (with some awesome bits of history from archaeologist Michael Coe).  It’s Monday and I had yoga this evening, so I had neither time nor energy to do serious feast day food like tamales or mole.  I did, however, turn up a nice egg recipe in the Aztec section of my book.  I love eggs so much that I generally only eat egg whites: otherwise my cholesterol levels would be higher than a Woodstock attendee.  Even greater than my love for eggs themselves, though, is the joy I take in the mild transgression of eating breakfast food for dinner.  This adapted recipe for Eggs Veracruz (which come out in semi-omelet form) came out so spicy and tasty I’m tempted to give up on real dinner food altogether.

Eggs Veracruz (Serves 4)
2-3 Jalapeno peppers, roasted over open flame until charred on the outside
3 Roma tomatoes, roasted over open flame until charred on the outside
2 cloves garlic
1 white onion
1 c. canned nopales (cactus)
8 eggs, lightly whipped with a fork
1/4 c. water
2 tbsp. chopped cilantro
Salt and pepper
Oil for pans

1. Puree the roasted peppers and tomatoes in a food processor with the garlic and onion. Fry the mixture over medium-high heat for about 5 minutes, stirring constantly, until the garlic and onion lose their sharpness. Salt and pepper to taste, add the nopales, and set aside.
2. Cook the eggs over medium heat in a large non-stick skillet until they begin to set; gather them in the center of the pan with a spatula.
3. Pour the sauce and cactus in around the edge of the pan and use the spatula to drag some of the sauce across the eggs to distribute it.
4. Add the water, lower the heat, and simmer for 8-10 minutes until most of the water is evaporated and the eggs and sauce have begun to set together.
5. Turn the eggs out onto a plate, sprinkle with cilantro, and serve with warm corn tortillas.