I made corn tortillas today, from scratch. What a treat, really. I hadn’t made taquitos in a while, and they sounded good. The problem was, mine always explode in the oven. My tortillas always crack, no matter what I do, and the filling oozes out, making them less than attractive and not nearly as easy to eat. The tortillas always give me trouble: I tried microwaving them with moist paper towels. I tried frying them. I tried different brands. I have never tired tortillas from a Latin market, but I was always a little fearful of that, for some reason. I decided that the only thing left to do was to make fresh tortillas. That was less intimidating than shopping in an ethnic market for me. (I’m sorry! I also am a little intimidated to go to a farm stand by myself, okay? It’s more a shy thing than a fearful thing.) I had an electric tortilla maker in my pantry from my mom, that my grandmother had given her when she was diagnosed with Celiac’s disease. My mom tried it, but never really got the hang of it, and let me take it off her hands. I opted to use it as a press rather than to cook them, and it was much easier than I expected, particularly after hearing the struggles my mom had faced. They were delicate, to be sure, but with a little care, they were easy.
And, bonus, they were the best tortillas I’ve ever eaten.
Only a few taquitos cracked, and they didn’t crack wide open like others I’d made always had.
It was an absolute triumph, and it was a dinner I was proud of more than many I’ve made. It was the best version of taquitos I’ve made to date, truly delicious, and truly something to be proud of. It’s meals like this that bring me joy, that energize my desire to cook and love of food. Particularly because the tortillas were easy and didn’t have much of a learning curve. I would do them again in a heartbeat. Maybe this week, even.
adapted from America’s Test Kitchen Feed
1 3/4 cup masa harina (original recipe called for 1 cup, I opted to 1 1/2 the recipe)
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 cup warm water (original recipe called for equal parts water and masa harina, but I found this to be too wet)
Preheat a skillet over medium heat. Mix all the ingredients together in a bowl until well well combined. The mixture should be thick but pliable, like play-doh (ATK description). Cut open a ziplock sandwich bag so that it is a flat piece of plastic, and place on a tortilla press. Pinch off a two inch ball of dough and roll it into a nice, round ball. Cover the remaining dough with a moist towel. Put it into the tortilla press, cover with the ziplock bag (so that the press is “lined”) and press the dough into a tortilla. Gently peel off the plastic and place the tortilla in the skillet. When the edges have begun to curl and the tortilla looks dry (about a minute, but as long as two), flip it over and cook the other side until it has a few browned spots. Remove to a plate lined with a dry, clean towel and cover it. Repeat, keeping the tortillas covered, until all the dough has been used. Revel in the fact that it only took you about 40 minutes to make a stack of pliable, delicious corn tortillas. Resist the urge to eat them all before you get to your actual dinner.