Polenta Huevos Rancheros with Asparagus

This twist on the traditional Mexican dish uses Marcella Hazen's genius method for no-stir polenta.
Course Breakfast, Main Course
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 50 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 10 minutes
Servings 4 people


For the Polenta:

  • 4 cups water
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup polenta (not quick-cooking)
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 jalapeno chili seeded and minced (I use gloves for this)

Vegetable Mixture:

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 pound asparagus cut in 2-inch pieces
  • 2 cups cooked pinto beans or 1 15-ounce can pinto beans rinsed and drained
  • 2 cups cherry or grape tomatoes halved
  • 1 large avocado peeled, seed removed, and cut into bit sized chunks
  • fresh corn kernels cut from one ear of corn

For the top:

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 4 large eggs
  • 4 ounces queso fresco crumbled
  • 12 or more fresh cilantro sprigs for garnish


To prepare the polenta:

  • Bring water to boil in a 2-quart heavy pot over medium-high heat. Add salt. Now add the polenta in a thin stream, whisking constantly to avoid lumps.
  • Continue to whisk 2 minutes. Whisk in oregano and jalepeno. Reduce heat to low and cover; simmer polenta 10 minutes, then stir vigorously for 1 minute. Replace cover and repeat for a total of 45 minutes.

During the last 15 minutes or so of cooking the polenta, cook the asparagus.

  • Heat a skillet over medium heat until hot. Add olive oil and garlic, stir until garlic is fragrant, about 15 seconds.
  • Add asparagus; cook and stir until crisp tender, 3 to 5 minutes. Remove from skillet and set aside.

When the polenta has just 5 minutes left to cook:

  • Wipe out the skillet that you used to cook the asparagus.
  • Heat skillet over medium heat until hot.
  • Crack eggs into skillet, keeping some space between them if possible.
  • Fry eggs until whites are set and yolk has begun to cook but is still runny in the center for sunnyside up eggs. Or flip the eggs if you prefer a less runny yolk.

Assemble the plates:

  • Divide polenta evenly among four plates, spreading it into a thin circle with the back of a spoon.
  • Divide evenly and sprinkle over polenta: asparagus, beans, tomatoes, avocado and corn kernels.
  • Top each plate with a fried egg.
  • Sprinkle queso fresco over the top of each plate and garnish with sprigs of fresh cilantro. Serve immediately.