My extensive research has produced no results. Nowhere have I managed to find a sensible explanation as to how this delicious egg dish, known as “Huevos del Albañil” or Bricklayer’s Eggs, came by its name and what, if anything, bricklayers have to do with it. Nevertheless, the bricklayers in question could certainly cook, and the play of textures and flavours between the sharpness of the sauce, the mellowness of the cream, the saltiness of the cheese and the richness of the avocado really keeps the palate on its toes and show off the versatility of tomatillos, the Mexican husked green “tomatoes”, to perfection. These eggs are a typical, traditional breakfast throughout the country, although a popular variation is to toss some stale tortillas into the sauce to make green “chilaquiles” which serve as a bed for the eggs. This is not a light breakfast dish by any stretch of the imagination – in fact I think the words sustaining, savoury and satisfying describe it perfectly but it is not the kind of food to prepare early on a weekday morning when you need to get to work; a lazy Sunday on the other hand is an excellent opportunity to relish the truly Mexican flavours. Furthermore, the sauce – Salsa Verde Cocida - can be made with frozen or tinned tomatillos, which is a bonus when they are out of season, it can be refrigerated for several days and it freezes well.
Fried eggs with bricklayer’s sauce – Huevos del albañil
For the Salsa Verde Cocida:-
30 ml/2 tbsp olive oil
2 hottish red chillies, deseeded and sliced
3 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
200 g/7 oz onions, peeled and coarsely chopped
450 g/1 lb tinned or frozen tomatillos
For the eggs:-
1 small ripe avocado, peeled and cut into 1 cm/1/2 in dice
15 g/1/2 oz fresh coriander, coarsely chopped
100 ml/3 1/2 fl oz vegetable oil
100 ml/3 1/2 fl oz single/light cream
30 g/1 1/4 oz Feta cheese
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
For the salsa, heat the oil in a large frying pan or wok. Add the chillies, garlic and onions and cook over medium heat, stirring regularly, until the onions are soft and golden. Transfer the mixture to the bowl of a food processor, add the tomatillos and some seasoning, and process to a chunky purée. Scrape it all back into the frying pan and cook over low heat for about 15 minutes, stirring often, until nice and thick. Keep warm or reheat as necessary.
When you are ready to cook breakfast, heat the oil in a non-stick frying pan and fry the eggs sunny side up.
Place them on warm plates, season them lightly, drizzle with the cream, crumble over the Feta cheese, and sprinkle with coriander and avocado.
Serve immediately with the salsa on the side.