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Eggs in Hoja Santa, Chile Cascabel Salsa

Hoja Santa - "sacred leaf" - is a heart-shaped large leaf used in Mexican cuisine. Why the name? Story is that Virgin Mary dried Jesus's diapers on the plant to make them smell nice. It is anise-flavored (and scented) and used in beans, stews, moles, tamales, quesadillas, etc. Wrapping cheese, meats and eggs in this leave imparts a subtle flavor.

In this simple dish, the eggs are cooked in a hoja santa cocoon then dunked in a salsa roja. The color combination is intentional - this is a dish to commemorte the Mexican Flag for our día de independencia. The plant is easy to come across in Mexico. In the US, you will find it under names like yerba santa, hierba santa, Mexican pepperleaf, root beer plant, and sacred pepper (the technical name being Piper Auritum).

When using dried chiles for sauces, always rehydrate. Chile cascabel is the dried version of fiery chile manzano, so devein and remove seeds. It becomes a deep red when dried, which will yield a gorgeous color to the salsa. Substitute chile ancho, or use both. I wanted a smoother salsa, so in a rare moment, I went the extra mile and peeled the tomatoes: it makes for a prettier presentation.

There are many ways to make this a heartier (and tastier) dish. You can serve the hoja santa eggs on top of a corn tortilla slathered with black beans or a slab of queso panela asado (or tuck it between the egg and hoja santa). Sprinkle queso fresco, goat cheese, toasted pumpkin seeds.

In other news, I will now be posting recipes in english AND español. Scroll down for spanish version, while I work on adding a translate function. ¡Provecho!

Salsa de Chile Cascabel Ingredients:

2-3 dried chile cascabel, inner seeds and stems removed

2 cups boiling water

1/3 white onion

4-5 roma tomatoes

1 garlic clove

1 teaspoon paprika

1 teaspoon kosher salt

2 teaspoons of avocado or olive oil

Hoja Santa Egg Ingredients:

4 large leaves hoja santa, washed and dried

4 eggs

extra virgin olive oil


freshly ground pepper

optional serving: corn tortilla, black beans, queso panela, avocado, toasted pumpkin seeds

Salsa de Chile Cascabel

Prepare salsa first. Place dried chiles in a bowl, cover with boiling water and let stand for 10 minutes. Meanwhile, bring a sauce pan of water to boil, add tomatoes. Boil until the sides bilster and begin to peel back, ~30-60 seconds. Remove from water and set aside until cool enough to handle.

Using a knife, make an X mark in the base of the tomatoes; peel back skin. Discard. Place peeled tomatoes, onion, garlic, salt, paprika, rehydrated chiles, and 1 cup of chile water into blender. Blend on high speed until smooth and fully combined, 3-5 minutes.

Heat oil in a sauce pan until shimmery, add salsa and cook over medium heat, stirring, until reduced by 1/3 - 1/2. Remove from heat, cover and keep warm.

Eggs in Hoja Santa

Use a paring knife to scrape off inner thick rubbery stem from base of hoja santa, taking care to leave the leaf intact. Brush olive oil on both sides of leaves.

Heat a frying pan over medium-low heat and place 2 hoja santa leaves on pan, bright green side down, overlapping with each other about a third lengthwise. You should notice an anise aroma and the leaves change color. Carefully two eggs in the middle and season with salt and pepper. Fold edges of leaves inwards to create a cocoon, taking care not to spill egg whites. Push to edge of pan and repeat with remainder leaves and eggs.

When egg whites become bright white and the yolk begins to set, turn off heat.

To serve: scoop a ladle of salsa on to a plate. If using, place corn tortilla, frijoles and queso panela in the middle of plate, and top with hoja santa cocoon.

Serves 2, yields ~3 cups of salsa



Ingredientes Salsa de Chile Cascabel:

2-3 chile cascabel secos, desvenado y sin semillas

2 tazas agua hirviendo

1/3 cebolla blanca

4-5 tomate bola

1 diente ajo

1 cucharadita pimentón

1 cucharadita sal kosher

2 cucharaditas aceite aguacate o oliva

Ingredientes Huevo en Hoja Santa:

4 hojas de hoja santa / acuyo, lavadas y secas

4 huevos

aceite de oliva


pimienta negra recién molida

opcional para servir: tortilla de maíz, frijoles negros o refritos, lajas de queso panela asado, aguacate, semillas de pepita verde

Salsa de Chile Cascabel:

Cubrir los chiles secos con 2 tazas de agua hirviendo, dejar reposar hasta suaves ~10 minutos. Poner agua sobre fuego alto en una olla, y cuando hierva poner tomates hasta que salgan ampollas y la piel se rompa un poco. Sacar del agua y poner en plato a un lado hasta que se puedan agarrar. Hacer una X en la base de los tomates, quitar piel.

Poner tomates, cebolla, ajo, chiles, 1 taza de agua de los chiles, sal y pimentón en licuadora. Licuar velocidad alta hasta que la salsa este totalmente combinada y sin grumos, ~3 minutos. Calentar aceite en olla sobre fuego medio, y cuando este caliente agregar salsa. Cocer, revolviendo para evitar que se pegue, hasta que se reduzca a la mitad. Quitar del fuego y cubrir para que este caliente.

Huevos en Hoja Santa:

Usando un cuchillo chico, quitar el tallo de la hoja santa y la nervadura central, tallando para no romper la hoja. Usando una brocha, barnizar las hojas con aceite por los dos lados. Calentar un sartén sobre fuego bajo y colocar las dos hojas encima como una cama, el lado verde obscuro hacia abajo, empalmándolas a lo largo hasta la mitad. Romper los huevos encima de las hojas y salpimentar. Con cuidado para que no se salgan las claras, doblar las orillas de las hojas hacia adentro, haciendo un nido semi-cuadrado. Mover el nido hacia el lado del sartén y repetir con las hojas y huevos restantes.

Cuando las claras se pongan blanco opaco, apagar la lumbre.

Servir: usando un cucharón, ponga salsa de chile cascabel sobre un plato. Si las va a usar, ponga tortilla de maíz caliente, frijoles, aguacate y queso panela asado. Colocar nido de hoja santa y huevos encima.

Sirve 2 porciones, ~3 tazas de salsa

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