International Recipes and Cooking Around the World

A Full Salvadoran Breakfast

Coffee and fresh tortillas

Image by David Dennis

Keeping breakfast light and nutrition-packed is a great idea for most of the week. But come Sunday, something more substantial and rib-sticking is usually in order.

Most large American or English-style breakfasts can be overly heavy and laden with fat. Or soaked in sugar and syrup. There is a healthier but still filling option: break your fast in the traditional Central American manner.

My favorite breakfasts ever were at a little Salvadoran place called Izalco in the Mission District of San Francisco (corner of 24th and Florida for locals). While definitely not calorie-poor, their breakfast wasn’t as quick to clog your veins as bacon, sausage and tons of butter are.

I often try to replicate that wonderful repast at home. I can usually get pretty close. It’s not hard, and the meal comes together pretty quickly. It’s also easy to up the amount for a crowd.

The only thing missing is the sound of masa slapping back and forth on abuela’s hands in the back.

Salvadoran Breakfast

  1. Heat some refried beans in a small saucepan. Add a little water to loosen it up a bit. Keep warm.
  2. In a saute pan or skillet, saute some ripe plantains in olive oil and set aside to keep warm. A low oven is good.
  3. In the same pan, brown a thick slice of ham on both sides. Keep warm with the plantains.
  4. Again using the same pan, scramble or fry some eggs. If scrambling, stir in a small handful of chopped scallions or cilantro if you like.
  5. Heat some corn tortillas on a plate in the microwave. I like to have 2 to 3 per person.
  6. Now put a little of the beans, plantains, ham and eggs on each plate. Add a nice cube of queso fresco if you want. And if you could care less about cholesterol, add a big dollop of sour cream or crema agria salvadoreña.
  7. Serve to friends with salsa and lots of hot coffee.

Que bueno!


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