A Texas staple that will become a regular part of your repertoire
It was called The Lazy Daisy: a 24 hour restaurant on ‘the drag’ in Austin, a locally owned Denny’s like place that was so much better than Denny’s. When I was in college at The University of Texas at Austin, The Lazy Daisy was always filled, even at (or particularly at) 2:30 AM in the morning after all the bars closed and people wanted good sustenance to help mitigate their buzz.
“The Daisy” as we came to call it, was also one solitary stumbling block from my fraternity house. The most inebriated person in the world, and their equally drunk date, could manage to get there in minutes on foot.
Needless to say, many of us were fixtures.
While I enjoyed a lot of different foods at The Daisy — they had surprisingly good salads, for instance, and a better than decent chicken fried steak — by far the greatest menu item, which I came to know intimately, were the breakfast tacos.
Breakfast tacos are one of my favorite foods. They are so incredibly satisfying I’m always shocked I can’t find them anywhere but Texas. Yes, breakfast burritos are ubiquitous. I like them, too. But there are subtle yet huge differences between a breakfast burrito and a breakfast taco. Give me a breakfast taco any time.
First, a true breakfast taco never has potatoes/hash browns. This element is the bane of my existence with breakfast burritos. It’s filler, people! A way the restaurant saves money! Why do you want to fill your breakfast burrito with potatoes?? It’s like when a restaurant adds sour cream to guacamole to stretch it. (WTF??) Potatoes take up a ton of territory in a breakfast burrito, eliminating valuable space that should be reserved solely for the wonderfulness of the most important ingredients: eggs, cheese, bacon and/or sausage. Why on earth would I want to sacrifice any space for potatoes??
Also, a breakfast burrito has way more flour tortilla than a breakfast taco. In a breakfast burrito, the flour tortilla and the potatoes (or rice, another WTF) are all you taste, they take over completely. In a breakfast taco, the flour tortilla exists to quietly support what God in Genesis divined was the perfect breakfast trio… eggs, cheese and meat, with perhaps a few very important supporting elements added to elevate the breakfast taco into the stratosphere.
Breakfast tacos also have a completely different mouth feel than a breakfast burrito, because instead of wolfing down mostly flour tortilla and potato with every bite you’re tasting a perfect melange of ingredients made to go together. You taste everything in every bite.
A good buddy of mine likes his very simple: scrambled eggs, bacon and cheese. With a little hot sauce. Finished off with the other very important addition that is a must: chopped white onion. Not sweet onion or red onion but regular ole’ white onion. The onion on top is classic Tex-Mex and this cool crunch with a slight bite, juxtaposed with the soft warm feel of the rest of the ingredients, is divine.
Check the recipe below for my other favorite additions as well as my perfect way of crafting a breakfast taco. My fellow Texans are sure to have all these ingredients on hand. For others, a quick run to the store will give you everything you need.
Prep them. Eat them. Then thank me later.
Flour Tortillas – You want smaller tortillas, not big huge burrito size. These are often called ‘fajita size’
Eggs – softly, slowly scrambled. See note below.
Bacon – crisply cooked, crumbled into pieces. OR:
Sausage – ground pork sausage, cooked and crumbled into pieces.
Cheddar cheese, shredded
White Onion, diced
Refried Beans – I’m a fan of Old El Paso refried beans but there are many good canned beans out there.
Best. Guacamole. Ever. (optional)
Sour Cream (optional)
Once you have cooked and assembled all your ingredients, this how I like to build my breakfast taco:
Take a flour tortilla (or a few) and gently swipe a light layer of refried beans on the tortilla. Not too much, you don’t want the beans to overwhelm everything else.
Sprinkle on some cheddar cheese.
In a pan on the stove or in a preheated oven (350 is fine), let the tortilla warm so that the cheese is starting to melt and the beans are warmed through. I don’t like to get them hot. Just a bit above room temperature.
Spoon on some scrambled eggs. Then add some crumbled bacon and/or sausage.
If you are using guacamole or sour cream, add now but go easy. Both of these can also overwhelm everything else. Sour cream in particular is gilding the lily here but some mornings I do like to add a touch.
Then sprinkle on your white onion.
Fold in half and enjoy!
NOTE: Americans cook eggs hard and fast, which give eggs a bitter flavor. I’m an egg fanatic but for years never liked scrambled eggs or omelettes because of this bitter taste. When I was finally served slow cooked scrambled eggs, I couldn’t believe the difference in taste and texture! These eggs are a revelation. Yes they take some time but the time is so worth it.
It’s not difficult:
Beat your eggs with a touch of cream and a small dollop of Dijon mustard (this adds an incredible umami. Try it, you won’t know it’s there but it makes a big difference.)
Melt a pad or two of butter over medium-low heat. Pour in your eggs. Then begin to stir. Slowly stir the eggs as they cook, adding some salt and pepper as you go. You can take a break here and there but you never want to leave them so long they start to harden on the bottom of the pan. Depending on the heat, this can take up to ten minutes (I’ve gone fifteen on low heat) but wow, the difference in your eggs, and then your breakfast tacos, will blow your mind.
I like my eggs really soft but cook them to your desired temperature and texture. But not too hard!