I travelled all the way to Mexico City last month in search of the best chilaquiles, tacos and quesadillas I could find. I found all of the above, plus quite a few new-to-me Mexican combinations of cheese, flatbread and cactus or mushrooms.
On our last morning there, I walked to the loveliest French-Mexican café down the street called Lardo and ordered chilaquiles verdes. Chilaquiles are a traditional Mexican breakfast made with tortilla chips simmered in sauce (green or red). I happily sat at the bar solo, sipping my cappuccino, admiring all of the copper design details, eavesdropping on the American family nearby, and imagining how fun it might be to travel with my own family someday.
Then my chilaquiles arrived, and all focus shifted to the gorgeous food placed before me. I didn’t know that tortilla chips and salsa could be so beautiful, but these were piled high and covered with dollops of queso fresco, fresh green cilantro leaves and lots of creamy diced avocado. (No egg; apparently I was supposed to order that separately, but I loved them as is).
The chips were perfectly tender, not soggy or too poky. The salsa tasted super fresh, and wasn’t overpowered by the flavor of fried chips. I’ve read that the sauce for chilaquiles varies by region (sometimes it’s red), but I think that green sauce is more traditional in Mexico City. Those chilaquiles tasted as good as they looked, and I vowed to recreate them promptly when I got home.
Which I did, opting to bake my tortilla chips rather than using store-bought or frying my own (big pots of oil scare me). I also made my favorite salsa verde. I tried a variety of toppings and landed on a combination of feta (in lieu of queso fresco or Cotija), red onion (for some color and heat), fresh cilantro, fried eggs (optional), and, of course, avocado.
I carefully picked out just-ripe avocado at the store, and then I forgot to add it for the photos. I went all the way to Mexico City for this chilaquiles recipe, and I forgot to add the avocado. Head smack!