Mexicans have their own version of pancakes, and these are called Tortillas made from cornmeal. The name was given by the Spanish conquistadors. Tortillas have become a staple in the diet of most Southern Americans. Traditionally, tortillas are grilled on a comal, an earthenware utensil. It is consumed like bread and is often filled or stuffed. Preparing tortillas from scratch can get really laborious. Thankfully there are some already cooked or raw tortillas available in the market. But if you will insist on creating your own, there is already an available masa harina in the market and will cut the preparation time to at least half. Tortilla can be served in many different ways: tacos or like a sandwich; enchiladas (stuffed, coated with sauce and baked); quesadillas or tortilla turnovers; or huevos rancheros similar to pancakes topped with tomato sauce and eggs.
A Tortilla can either be made from corn (tortilla de maize) or wheat (flour tortilla/tortilla de harina). This basic corn tortilla recipe needs:
- 2 cups masa harina or simply 1 pound fresh masa (ground corn)
- 1 1/2 cups of warm water
Form the dough by mixing the masa harina with the water. Knead for about a minute while adding more water if necessary. Divide the dough into 12 balls, each about 1.5 inches in diameter. Press each ball using a tortilla press, in between two pieces of wax paper until very thin and about 5.5 to 6 inches in diameter. Cook each tortilla on a hot griddle or a comal, 30 seconds to a minute, each side. Prevent condensation by keeping the cooked tortilla in a tortilla warmer lined with paper towels until they are ready to be served. Wheat flour can be substituted for corn flour. This kind of tortilla is commonly used in the United States in making burritos.
Here is a tortilla recipe the Spanish are proud of. Spanish Tortilla or Spanish omelet is served at room temperature and needs the following to make it:
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- 2 pound baking potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/4-inch slices
- salt and pepper to taste
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 onions, sliced into rings
- 6 eggs
- 1 roasted red pepper, cut into strips
- 3 ounces chopped Spanish serrano ham
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
Over medium low heat and in a large skillet, heat the olive oil. Cook half of the potato slices in the oil, making it tender (fifteen to twenty minutes). When done, remove potatoes and place into a large bowl, leaving oil in the skillet. Cook the remaining potatoes in the oil until tender, and then add to the bowl. Set aside the large skillet with the remaining olive oil for use later. Sprinkle the potatoes with salt and pepper. Gently toss the potatoes.
In a skillet, heat the two tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat. Cook the onion rings until soft and golden brown. Set aside the onion rings on a plate, letting it cool. Whisk the eggs in a large bowl, until smooth. Add the onions, roasted pepper and Serrano ham. Gently fold the potatoes.
Using the large skillet with used olive oil, pour the egg and potato mixture. Make sure the heat is low. Cook the egg mixture until the sides have started to set and the bottom has turned golden brown. Using a large plate and a spatula, turn the omelet over and cook until the other side is done and the center has set in. Slide the tortilla on a serving plate. Allow the omelet to cool at room temperature. Cut into six wedges and you might want to garnish with parsley before serving.
If you want the easiest tortilla recipe then you might want to try making some Fresh Tortilla Triangles. The chips can be cooled and they will last for two days as long as they are stored in an airtight container. Needed are:
- 2 cups canola or other vegetable oil
- 8 6-inch corn tortillas, cut into quarters
- salt to taste.
Simply fry the tortilla triangles, 8 pieces at a time, in a 10-inch skillet (pre-heat oil to 370 degrees). The triangles are done when the sizzling stops and have turned golden brown on each side. Remove from oil and drain on a wire rack set over a shallow pan. Sprinkle with salt immediately.
This last tortilla recipe is a sure winner and a delightful treat for diners. Black-Eyed Peas and Tortilla is a simple yet rich and mildly spiced to excite the taste buds. The ingredients are:
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1/4 cup finely chopped onion
- 1 15.5-ounce can black-eyed peas, drained
- 1/2 cup vegetable stock
- 1 fresh jalapeno pepper, chopped
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
- salt and pepper to taste
- 4 12- inch flour tortillas
In a medium skillet over medium heat, cook the onions in olive oil until tender. Add the black-eyed peas, stock, jalapeno, garlic and lime juice. Sprinkle with salt and pepper according to your taste. Continue cooking until heated through. Serve after the filling is stuffed in the tortillas.
Tortillas are not boring at all. Spice it up with the recipes and you will surely enjoy this Mexican staple in many different ways!
Corn Tortilla Recipes