Late night cooking differs from other times of day. It’s not the time for formal, elaborate recipes. Whether you work or play late into the night, when hunger strikes, only the best will do. I’ve done late night duty for years, and here are my top three late night recipes.
Somewhere in the space between an omelet and hash, San Antonio discovered migas. The recipe adapts readily to all sorts of add-ins, much like an omelet. But the essential ingredient is tortillas – seriously. I usually use the half-stale remains from the bottom of a tortilla chip bag, but torn up tortillas work, too. Traditionally, sausage, like Mexican chorizo, gets tossed in, but there are no rigid rules. I’ve even had vegan migas. Perfect for late night cooking, migas mean heating up whatever ingredients you have, and cooking in a whisked egg at the end. Make sure it’s enough egg to be an egg dish, and not just to bind. I l love to season with Mexican oregano and cumin. Over the last twenty years, I’ve made who knows how many variations. Plain scrabbled eggs may be a traditional meal at 11 pm, but migas can carry you from then all the way through brunch.
When my sister got off late at night from waiting tables, she’d come home to make Monte Cristo sandwiches. It was the late night sandwich for bartenders and wait staff. But, for me, I like something even easier late at night. While I could just do a grilled cheese, there’s something special about adding in meat and condiments. I layer the cheese slices next to the bread, and place the meat in the center. After I grill the sandwich, melting the cheese, I open it, placing the condiments in the middle. Mustard, lettuce, tomato and pickle stay crisp. It’s only the slightest twist, but makes for perfect contrast of textures.
Indian Spiced Potatoes
Years ago, a friend shared Potatoes in Whole Spices from her Indian ex-husband’s family. Then, I discovered Panch Phoran Aloo on my own. Late at I night, I crave those flavors, but am too tired to look up the proper recipes in my books. Instead I toast my own blends of Indian spices – cumin, coriander seed, turmeric, fennel, mustard, and black onion – or whatever other seed sounds good late at night, in a dry pan. If I have cold cooked potatoes, I add that in along with frozen peas. Otherwise, I chop up a raw potato, and cook thoroughly in the spices. I rarely make ghee that late, so plain butter with salt and pepper works in the pan.
All three of the these ideas are simple snacks, easy to stir around a skillet in the wee hours. Easy and simple, they’re a way to use up leftovers. Satisfy those cravings with these best ideas.