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Huevos Rancheros Sandwicheson toasted spicy cornbread

Photograph of huevos rancheros.

Serves 2

For the cornbread:
Unsalted butter for greasing the pan
1 box cornbread mix
1 large egg, at room temperature, lightly beaten
175 mL (3/4 cup) buttermilk
2.5 mL (1/2 tsp) lemon juice
5 mL (1 tsp) red pepper flakes, finely crushed between thumb and forefinger
30 mL (2 tbsp) vegetable oil

Preheat oven to 220 C (425 F). Butter a 23-cm (9-inch) square baking pan. In a medium bowl, combine all the cornbread ingredients until just moistened. Pour into the pan and bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until the bread is cracked on top, brown on the edges and pulling away from the pan. Let cool in pan for 10 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack. When completely cool, slice into 1.27-cm (1/2-inch) slabs.

For the sandwiches:
4 slabs cornbread
Unsalted butter for spreading, plus 2 tbsp for frying
250 mL (1 cup) shredded cheddar
4 large eggs
Leaves of 1 bunch cilantro, chopped
Hot sauce
Coarse salt and pepper

Using the broiler, toast cornbread slabs until lightly browned. Spread one side of each slab with butter, then sprinkle the cheese over two of the buttered slabs. Return the cheesy slabs to broiler until cheese begins to melt, about one minute. Remove immediately.

Over high heat, melt the 2 tablespoons of butter in a sauté pan. Fry the eggs sunny side up until the edges are browned and the yolks are set, but still yellow.

Place a cheesy cornbread slab on each of the two plates. Top each with 2 eggs, some cilantro leaves, hot sauce and extra cheese if desired. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Top with remaining cornbread slabs.

Hot Tip! Take a tub of your favourite salsa fresca (or better yet, make your own) and zap it for a minute or two in the microwave. Pour the warm salsa over your sandwich and eat it with a fork.

From Gentlemen, Start Your Ovens: Killer Recipes for Guys by Tucker Shaw (Chronicle Books).