It’s Cinco de Mayo Week! Love me some Mexican food, real authentic Mexican. I have a few recipes up my sleeve and ready to go, so expect some great (very basic and simple!) recipes throughout this fun week.
Technically, my first trip to Mexico (explained below) was with 12 of my best girlfriends when we turned 40 years old. Just a year or so ago, right (wink)! The food there was amazing, fresh, simple and healthy. Not like what we have in so many restaurants in the US. This week, we are going to start with some homemade corn tortillas, honestly, worth every little putsy minute. I’ve tried to find tortillas like this locally made, but continue to find homemade the best. Only three ingredients, you can make a ton ahead of time for any fiesta. I strongly urge you to try making them once, you’ll be hooked. But first…
…Let me tell you a funny little story about me (Shelagh) that most of you have never heard. Growing up, good friends of my parents, with whom they had traveled to Mexico, would always call me Little Rosita. I never questioned the nick-name, since it was just what they called me. Then I found out why. As you may or may not know, I’m the youngest of 7 children, my oldest brother is 20 years older than me, so needless to say, I was an ‘oops’. And understandably the origin of Shelagh was a trip to Mexico in January of 1964. My parents (of course) had never ever referred to me as an ‘oops’, but when I was in my 30’s I learned that my older brothers would refer to me at the ‘Mexican Mistake’. Brats. A little TMI (too much information) for a food blog post? Maybe, but I really do think it’s a hysterical story. No hard feelings towards my brothers (love ya!), of course, but let’s stick with Rosita.
Back to the recipe.
This is not 100% my recipe, mainly because I think there’s really no other way to make corn tortillas, this way. The main ingredient in a corn tortilla is masa harina. Masa harina is a corn flour (gluten-free) that is mixed with lime. Not to be confused with cornmeal or regular corn flour. It’s available in most grocery stores nowadays, either in the gluten-free area, ethnic aisle or with regular baking flours. Its unique flavor with the lime is what sets it off from other corn products, and it also makes a great addition to Tortilla Soup. Watch for that recipe tomorrow, it’s the perfect Cinco de Mayo meal, easy and satisfying. Stay tuned.
Homemade Corn Tortilla
These three ingredients will change your corn tortilla loving life! You won't want to eat a store bought tortilla again! Typically cooked on a clay comal, so you can cook alot at a time, but a good heavy skillet or cast iron pan will work.
- 2 cups masa harina
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt use half if using regular table salt
- 1-1/2 cups very hot water you may need more
In a large bowl, mix salt and masa harina together.
Slowly pour 1-1/2 cups of hot water into the dough and mix with a spoon or your hand (or better yet, use a dough whisk, my new favorite tool!) to form a ball. The dough should be firm and springy when touched, not dry or super sticky. If the mixture is too dry and it needs some more water, add it in small amounts until dough is the right consistency.
Cover the bowl with a kitchen towel and let the dough rest for about an hour.
Preheat a griddle or large cast iron pan on medium-high heat.
Pinch off a golf-ball sized piece of dough and form it into a ball with your hands. Try to get the balls as even a possible, but not a big deal if some are different sizes.
Put the masa ball in between two pieces of wax paper, plastic wrap, or parchment and flatten it using the tortilla press (or rolling pin if that's what you've got, it should roll out pretty easily).
Gently (they are fairly fragile at this point) remove the flattened masa from the plastic wrap and pop on the hot griddle (no oil needed) for about 1 minute, you want some small brown marks on the tortilla, but still soft.
Flip the tortilla over and cook on the other side for 45 seconds to about 1 minute.
Remove the tortilla and place it between a kitchen towel or a tortilla warmer to keep it warm.
Repeat with remaining dough balls.
After cooking the tortillas on the stove top, you can fry them for traditional chips, or bake them (my favorite way). Here's what you do.
Brush with a little olive oil, cut into triangles, and toss with some salt.
Put them on a rimmed baking sheet (not overlapping) and bake in a 350 degree oven for about 15 minutes, maybe shorter or longer, depending on the accuracy of your oven. Keep checking them. They are done with they snap!