Believe it or not, Pedro Fernández, a Mexican celebrity, singer, and actor, was the one who introduced me to these beauties. It was about six years ago when we were both catching a flight out of Mexico City and we happened to have lunch at the same restaurant.
I was catching a flight back to Boston after spending a week vacationing with my father and his girlfriend in Veracruz- talk about major third wheeling! The trip had been full of awesome quality time with my family. I’d gotten to meet an uncle in Veracruz that I’d only heard about until then. Of course, with great family comes great food. I ate the most delicious camarones a la diabla I’d ever had. That was the meal that single-handedly converted me to seafood.
I’d just been dropped off at the airport by my father and I had about two hours to kill before my boarding time. Never one to waste a meal, especially in Mexico, I wanted to find a good lunch spot and was looking for a place to eat when I spotted this particular restaurant from afar. It was tucked away on the second floor of a corner. I almost didn’t walk up the stairs because I didn’t want to lug up my suitcase. I’m so glad I did!
When I got to the top of the stairs I quickly skimmed the menu and asked the hostess if they accepted credit cards since I had about 30 pesos in my wallet at that point. It was then that I spotted Pedro Fernández sitting towards the back of the restaurant. As soon as I saw him, I decided that any restaurant good enough for Pedro was good enough for me. I snagged a table close enough to see what he was eating.
Too embarrassed to ask the waitress to give me what Pedro Fernández was eating, I scrutinized his plate and perused the menu for a match. I saw a thick tomato sauce with something green…peas! and some sort of meat… maybe ham? The plate was flanked with fried plantain pieces and all of this was topped with a fried egg. After narrowing the category down to breakfast, I quickly found my match on the menu- huevos motuleños! I ordered them and eagerly awaited their arrival. One bite of this cheesy eggy tangy deliciousness later, I was sold. Since then huevos motuleños have become my favorite breakfast and top three favorite meal! Thank you, Pedro Fernández! Sincerely, Daniela.
I later learned that huevos motuleños come from Motul, a town in the state of Yucatán. Traditionally, huevos motuleños consist of a tostada covered in black beans topped with a fried egg and then submerged in a tangy-habanero-tomato sauce. The huevos motuleños I had at that restaurant had a black bean and cheese quesadilla instead of a tostada as a base. I’ve made them both ways now, and I have to say that both ways are equally delicious. I usually use a tostada as a base because of convenience (and crisp factor- yum), but if I’m feeling extra festive I’ll make a quesadilla instead.
A note about habanero peppers: Habanero Peppers are pretty freaking spicy. It is very important not to cut the habaneros or blend them into your sauce unless you’re looking for a tongue-on-fire experience. Cooking the habaneros whole will give a great tangy taste to the sauce without too much spice. If you prefer a little extra heat, cut an ‘x’ into the top of the peppers to open them up. And if you really LOVE the heat, blend half a pepper into the sauce (at your own risk).
Want a little more heat? Open up those habanero peppers!
Cooking Time: 30 minutes
Eggs, Tostadas, Refried Beans
- 4 eggs
- 4 corn tortillas
- 1 cup refried black beans
- 1/2 cup oil
Sauce (Yields about two cups)
- 1 lb of tomaotes (for me about 3 large tomatoes)
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1/3 cup water
- 1 onion
- 2 habanero peppers
- 2 tablespoons oil
- 1/3 cup frozen green peas
- 1/3 cup diced ham
- 1 teaspoon salt
- Queso Fresco
- Sour Cream
- Fried Plantains
- Sauce: Boil tomatoes in a small pot until cooked (8-10 minutes). Remove from heat and let cool. Then place in tomatoes in blender with 1/3 cup of water, salt and garlic. Puree until sauce has a uniform texture.
- Sauce (cont.): Slice onion into rings. Add oil and onions to pan at medium heat and cook onions until they start to become translucent. Add ham and sear. Then, carefully pour the tomato puree into the pan. Finally, add whole habanero peppers to the sauce. Cover the pan and reduce heat. Let the habaneros cook into the sauce on low heat for about 15 minutes.
- Tostadas: Heat oil on medium heat in skillet. Add tortillas one by one and fry until crispy on both sides. Set aside. You can bypass this step if you already have tostadas.
- Assembly: Fry eggs al gusto. Spread about 2 tablespoons of refried beans onto each tostada. (You can buy a can of refried beans from the store, or you can look at my molletes post for hints on how to make your own. I will make a more detailed post dedicated to refried beans soon!) Add fried eggs on top. Smother with salsa. Garnish with cheese and avocado slices.