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Breakfast Tacos – Egg, Onion, Pancetta and Cheese

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001The other day my best friend from high school’s facebook status update said, “Ate pancetta for dinner, which is basically bacon for snobs.”  I doth protest!  Apart from joining a very Italian family through marriage, I likely would have jumped on the pancetta bandwagon anyway since I’m always trying new foods.  I had a leftover 3 oz package of pancetta from making Martha Stewart’s Pancetta Wrapped Pork, [2] Central Market’s fresh tortillas, and the ever ubiquitous eggs, onion and cheese in the frigde.  All combined to make a delicious breakfast taco, lovingly topped with Hell on the Red [3] salsa, to jump start our day.  Before I extol the virtues of pancetta, I recognize that pancetta is not a traditional ingredient of a breakfast taco.  The beauty of a breakfast taco to me lies in it’s ability to be personally customized to one’s liking.

I normally don’t cook breakfast since I have an inability to function before a more reasonable hour like 9 or 10 and after I’ve consumed an appropriate amount of coffee that hopefully someone else (you know who you are) has lovingly prepared for me.  If I’m eating breakfast, about 90% of the time, that means cheerios and milk.  Others in my family seem to desire more variety in the AM so occasionally when I am strong, I humor them.

Pancetta is from the same cut of pork that bacon is, but bacon is smoked in addition to being cured, thus leading to a slightly different flavor.  I’m sure it also comes down to personal preference, but I am very fond of the extremely thin cut slices of pancetta, whereas with bacon, I almost always choose the thick cuts.  To me, pancetta adds a crunch and depth to your flavor but doesn’t take over as the centerpiece of attention.  Bacon feels more like a main component, edging it’s way in to mask the flavors of other things entering your mouth at the same time.  Imagine a BLT, there I find the bacon to be like the replacement for turkey or other deli meats and the lettuce and tomato are garnishes and flavor enhancers.  On the flip side, if you made a PLT, it would be more like a lettuce and tomato show complemented by the pancetta.

Perhaps it makes me a food snob, but I am a big fan of pancetta.  And also of bacon.  Just at different times and in different places.  To forgo it would be like limiting myself to red onions for life and never allowing myself the yellows, the whites, the greens, the shallots and so on.

Breakfast Tacos

3 oz pancetta, diced

7 eggs, beaten

5 tortillas

1/4 of a white onion, diced

sprinkling of cheddar/jack cheese

kosher salt

fresh ground pepper

Hell on the Red Salsa

In a skillet, cook pancetta on medium heat until crispy, stirring to ensure even cooking.  Remove pancetta to a plate and reserve.  In the fat rendered from the pancetta, cook the onion, also on medium until soft.  In a non-stick skillet, combine the eggs with a large pinch of salt and 8 turns of pepper.  Cook on medium heat, scrambling with a spatula.  Warm tortillas wrapped in foil in a 250 degree oven for 10-15 minutes.  Top one tortilla with eggs, and a sprinkling of onions, pancetta, and cheese.  Serve with plenty of salsa for dipping.

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