Recipe of the Month: Melissa’s Associate Santos Ruiz
By Dennis Linden
Santos Ruiz, Melissa’s Safety Manager, provides a delicious breakfast dish that has been a weekend tradition for the Ruiz family at home and at their regular Colorado River campsite for years. In fact, while the preparation of this recipe was staged in a brick-and-mortar kitchen for the purposes of this article, to achieve the optimum flavors that Santos’ dish offers it should be cooked over an open fire. Camping not your style? Then an iron skillet on the backyard barbeque will work too; what better way to start a Sunday morning than grilling! Since July is a month when many do take to the great outdoors for vacation, here is the perfect (and healthy) start to a summer day around your own campfire.
OK, so there is really no exact substitute for the greasy goodness of authentic chorizo. There is also no quicker way to clog up one’s arteries than with this traditional Mexican sausage product. Melissa’s Soyrizo
contains the same flavorful seasoning combination that does come very close to replicating the real thing and, rather than fat and cholesterol, it is packed with the nutritional benefits of soy. The grease is missing, of course, and that’s certainly a fair trade for all the good health that replaces it!
Santos’ recipe depends upon a few simple fresh ingredients that need only a bit of salt and pepper to accent their natural flavors. His cooking process layers the fresh components one at a time into the pan until the individual flavors are slowly melded before binding them altogether with eggs. Depending upon how “eggy” you like your soyrizo, the right ratio of egg for this dish is 2 or 3 to 1; meaning 2 or 3 eggs per person being served.
Santos lays the foundation of his dish with Baby Dutch Yellow® Potatoes
. Degree of crispiness is a matter of preference; my vote goes to frying them separately in the pan until they just begin to turn golden brown. Add the peppers and let these two fry together until the peppers show a little browning at the edges. Just enough time for those Baby Dutch Yellow®
Potatoes to finish to a buttery, golden crisp.
The three colors of peppers Santos incorporates into this dish add both a playful mix of color as well as variety of tastes. Red Bell Peppers
cook up sweet and yellow bells have a more subtle flavor but are meatier in texture. While Santos does note that the Jalapeño
is an optional
ingredient, this writer considers the chile pepper mandatory as it definitely kicks this dish up the proverbial notch of spicy heat. Santos also likes to use a hotter yellow chile when he wants a “two-notch” breakfast!
There is plenty of flexibility in Santos’ recipe for other components based on individual tastes, though it is really not a fair contest to compare the sweetness of the Maui Onion
to other varieties. The sugar content of the Maui not only makes it the most flavorful sweet onion in the marketplace, the variety can caramelize quickly in the pan. Timing is everything to avoid over-cooking this onion, which could introduce a burnt taste to the mix. Let the potatoes start to brown up before adding them to the pan in order to get the desired crispiness in the potato while the onion is still translucent with just a hint of browning on them.
“Corn tortillas only and never, never heated in a microwave unless you like chewy-tough tortillas” cautioned Santos. If you are preparing this dish in a home kitchen, the stovetop can be converted into an open-flame grill, which is really the only right way to heat up tortillas...
This method takes some focus. I suggest placing the soyrizo mixture in a preheated oven when finished to keep it warm and then use all four burners at once to heat up a stack of tortillas quickly. Whether you are cooking over stovetop flame or camp fire, tortilla management is an art that will take a few blackened practice tries to find the sweet spots on the grill; focused attention and patience are the keys.
Santos Ruiz is an 18-year veteran with Melissa’s. “I began at Melissa’s as a produce receiver in our warehouse,” explained Santos. “Then the company sent me to safety training to further my knowledge of government regulations in the workplace. So I do warehouse safety training and enforce the guidelines that are designed to create a safe working environment for our employees.” His camp fire is shared by wife, Letty; though they are now grown, both son Mark Anthony and daughter Erika still like to join them on weekends – especially when dad is cooking up his special breakfast. Ha, dare I say it…try this recipe and, like Santos Ruiz, you too will be a happy camper!
Soyrizo con Huevos
1 pound Baby Dutch Yellow® Potatoes
, sliced into rounds, then quartered
½ Red Bell Pepper
½ Yellow Bell Pepper
, diced (optional)
½ Maui Onion
12 ounces Soyrizo
2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
Salt & Pepper, to taste
Cut up the baby Dutch Yellow®
potatoes, without peeling them.
Add olive oil to a large pan and fry until the potatoes start to brown, adding S&P to taste.
Add red/yellow bell peppers and jalapeño, cook for another 5 minutes.
Add diced onions, then sauté until onions turn translucent and potatoes begin to crisp up.
Lower flame, add soyrizo, blend and cook until all flavors meld together.
Beat eggs, add to pan, turn heat up slightly, let cook for 1 minute then fold into pan mixture.
Heat each corn tortilla directly on the grill or stove top burners until very lightly singed.
Serve family style in pan with warm tortillas on the side and maybe a bowl of Melissa’s New Hatch Salsa
for an extra special zip!