When I was little I had two favorite weekend breakfasts: hot cakes (made in all colors and shapes) and migas. My dad, who has always woken up way earlier than anyone else during the weekend, would go down to the kitchen and cook breakfast for us. Making sure that by the time we all came down we had a full plate of incredible looking and tasting food waiting for us. Apparently, when I was little I used to wake up and do this with him. I would sit on the kitchen counter and “help”. I still have a tendency to sit on the kitchen counter, but thankfully my cooking skills have come a long way since them. Anyway… You know how they say smells and flavors take you back?
It’s a truth so universally acknowledged, Pixar showed it perfectly in one of its (best) movies – Ratatouille. One minute you’re seating down to eat a plate full of whatever food you like the best, the next you’re sitting back at your childhood table.
Migas take me back. They take me “back” in a weird way. As you can imagine, they are a sort of staple in my family’s breakfast repertoire. Which means they are not only what my dad makes for us during the weekend, but one of the first things me and my siblings learned how to cook. Migas are also a very old dish and mean a lot of different things to different people. In Spain and Portugal it is more of a meal that involves leftover bread and chorizo or pork and spices. In Mexico City, the most common type of migas is actually a soup. A garlic soup with day-old bread (bolillo) slices and a raw egg – sort of like egg drop soup. I am from Mexico City, but my grandparents (on my dad’s side) are from the North of Mexico and so, their migas involve tortillas, egg, tomato, and onion. And they’re more of a breakfast dish than a mid-morning meal.
To make migas you just have to follow a few simple steps:
First heat up some oil in a pan, once it’s glossy and heated through add some onion in small cubes. Leave the onions there for a little bit, tossing around until they are slightly golden.
Then, add the tortilla. Cut into small squares and let them soak up the oil and onion flavor for a little bit. They should be slightly crispy before you move on to the next step.
Next, add the tomato. Again, cut into bite-sized cubes. And let everything rest on the pan for a tiny bit. Both, for the tomato to start cooking and the flavors to absorb.
Lastly, add your egg and season with salt. This is a dish that doesn’t really ask for pepper (which, for me, is saying something), but you could add some if you love it. My mom likes to switch the salt for chicken seasoning powder from Knor. I like to add some green onion when I have it. It makes it look prettier, and also adds a sort of punch. That’s the good thing about family recipes after all. There’s the recipe and then there’s everyone’s take on it.
What is your favorite family meal or comfort food?