I’ve been wanting to recreate this ever since I left Chicago almost a year ago. Not that it’s difficult to make, just was afraid it would not live up to my expectations. Finally, decided to give it a whirl, and…I think Rick [Bayless that is] would give a nod of approval to my version. And really, how can anything with a poached egg on top not be good — a duck egg to boot — its yolk, even more thick and creamy than a chicken’s egg.
This torta has layers of flavors. First, there is the layer of mashed black beans with garlic (and a little ground chipotle powder), second, a layer of fire-roasted tomato salsa, third, a poached duck egg (you can easily substitute with a chicken egg), and lastly, topped with chopped cilantro, thinly sliced jalapenos, and feta cheese, all on top a crispy, country baguette. I’ve also prepared three different salsas/sauces (just because one didn’t seem like enough, then two didn’t either; three seems just right).
Red = mild, fire-roasted tomato salsa
Green = medium, cilantro-jalapeno sauce
Orange = fiery, fruity habanero sauce (use sparingly, a little goes a long way)
Make one, make them all, or substitute with your favorite salsa.
At 200,000-350,000 scoville units, the habanero packs a punch. But, habaneros are not all about heat, they actually have a nice frutiness to them. A little tid bit — capsaicin, the compound that gives chiles their heat, has been shown to release endorphins in the body. Eventually, enough are released to create a sensation that can be compared to a “runner’s high”. Maybe that explains my addiction?
Do ahead: You can make the mashed black beans and salsas ahead of time. Roast the various chiles and enough garlic for each of the salsas in the same pan to save time.
Open-Faced Breakfast Torta
Mashed black beans (recipe below)
Salsas (recipes below)
Poached duck or chicken eggs, one for each torta
Mini baguette, sliced in half
Crumbled cheese, such as feta or queso fresco
Jalapeno, thinly sliced
Coarse sea salt
Toast the baguette until nice and crispy (just did this in my toaster oven). Spread a layer of the mashed beans on top, followed by a layer of the fire-roasted tomato salsa. Place under the broil (or another cycle of your toaster oven) until warmed through. Top with a poached egg. Garnish with feta, cilantro, and jalapeno slices. Add a drizzle of the green cilantro sauce and a small amount of the habanero sauce. Sprinkle a little coarse sea salt on top.
Mashed Black Beans
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 15-ounce can black beans, drained
1/2 teaspoon chipotle powder
Heat the oil in a medium skillet over medium heat. Add the garlic and saute for 1 minute. Add the beans and mash with the back of a wooden spoon to a coarse puree. Remove from the heat and add 2 tablespoons water, to give a spreadable consistency. Season with salt (~1/4-1/2 teaspoon) and chipotle powder.
Fire-Roasted Tomato Salsa
2 jalapeno chiles
3 garlic cloves, unpeeled
1/2 cup finely chopped white onion
1 15-ounce can of fire roasted tomatoes
1/3 cup loosely packed cilantro
1 teaspoon lime juice
Set an ungreased skillet over medium heat. Lay the chiles and the garlic in the skillet and dry roast until soft and black in spots, about 5-10 minutes for the chiles and 10-15 minutes for the garlic. Cool until handeable, then slip the skins off the garlic. Remove the stems from the chiles. Place the garlic and chiles in a food processor and pulse until finely chopped. Add the tomatoes with their juices and pulse a few more times until as coarse or smooth as you like.
Chop the onions and rinse in a strainer under cold water. Shake off excess water and place in a medium bowl.
Pour the tomato mix into the bowl with the onions. Add the cilantro and stir. Season with the lime juice and salt (~1/2 teaspoon). Thin with a little water if necessary.
Habanero Hot Sauce
8 habanero chiles
2 garlic cloves, unpeeled
1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1/4 teaspoon salt
Set an ungreased skillet over medium heat. Lay the chiles and the garlic in the skillet and dry roast until soft and black in spots, about 5-10 minutes for the chiles and 10-15 minutes for the garlic. When cool enough to handle, then slip the skins off the garlic. Remove the stems from the chiles.
Place the garlic in a food processor. With the motor running, drop in the chiles one after another. When all are in, continue processing for about 20 seconds, then add the lime juice, salt and 1/4 cup water. Continue processing until smooth.
Note: be very careful when handling habanero peppers; the oils can penetrate the skin. Avoid touching your eyes before thoroughly washing your hands.
Green Cilantro Sauce
1 1/2 cups loosely packed cilantro
1 1/2 to 2 jalapeno or 1 serrano chiles, depending on desired level of heat, roughly chopped
juice of half a lime
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup olive oil
Add the cilantro, chiles, lime juice, and salt to a food processor and pulse until smooth. Add the olive oil in a steady stream and process until very smooth.