Food Buzz

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Monday, June 01, 2009

Tortilla tip

I made a giant batch of enchiladas Saturday for the dinner and finally found a solution to a vexing problem. Since I don't live near a tortilla factory and didn't have time to make 50 corn tortillas from scratch this weekend I had to make do, as usual, with stiff, crumbly tortillas from the grocery store. On their own they don't roll; they fold and then break. The typical method is to fry the tortillas briefly in hot oil before adding the filling and rolling. Cook's Illustrated suggests spraying the tortillas with cooking oil and baking--a method that requires more counter space and cookie sheets than I have, especially for a double batch. Also, both methods add grease to the dish.

Instead, I steamed the tortillas, and it worked like a charm! I set up my own steamer with a basket over a pot. It's best to work in small batches, or the tortillas on the bottom will turn to mush. In fact, once the tortillas have steamed for a few minutes start working from the bottom up. Even tortillas that haven't had much time to steam come out curling slightly, which helps a great deal. Ole!


Adriana Velez said...

A note from my mom:

"Another way to steam tortillas is the oven or even in the microwave. For the oven wrap no more than 6 per foil packet--if they are really dry sprinkle just a few drops of water on the top and bottom of the stack. I try not to use foil very often but if you do the foil comes out clean enough so you can reuse later.

Using the microwave is much faster. Put them in a plastic bag, again just a few at a time and heat for a few seconds. A tortilla warmer works as well as a plastic bag. The lid seals up the heat and moisture well.

Sheri said...

oh bless you for this.