Advertisement
YOU ARE HERE: LAT HomeCollections

The Power of the Press

June 15, 1995|BARBARA HANSEN | TIMES STAFF WRITER

It's so easy to buy tortillas, why would anyone make them? There are lots of reasons. One is to tailor the size to your needs. You might, for example, want two- or three-inch mini-tortillas for appetizers. Or you might want to make quesadillas by folding the uncooked tortilla over cubes of cheese, then deep-frying until browned. Some Latino cooks like to stuff beans or cheese inside the thin layer of masa that inflates when a tortilla is on the griddle. And some simply prefer that fresh-off-the griddle taste. Thanks to tortilla presses and instant corn masa , it's possible to have fresh tortillas at a moment's notice.

1. Place 2 cups instant masa in a mixing bowl. Add 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons lukewarm water, or enough to make a dough that is soft and spongy but not wet. If dough is dry, gradually add water until mixture can be gathered into ball.

2. For each tortilla, form ball of dough about 1 1/2 inches in diameter.

3. Flatten slightly and place on sheet of plastic that lines top and bottom of tortilla press. To make sheet of plastic, cut apart sturdy, gallon-size zipper lock plastic food bag. Fold plastic over dough, then close tortilla press and press firmly down with handle until tortilla measures about 6 inches. Keep remaining masa covered with kitchen towel to prevent drying out. Lift press, carefully peel off plastic and remove tortilla.

4. Place tortilla on hot griddle. Cook until bottom is flecked with brown, about 30 seconds. Turn and cook other side about 30 seconds. Turn again and cook another 30 seconds, or until tortilla is thoroughly cooked. If tortilla puffs, press down with folded kitchen towel. When done, remove and stack on plate or in tortilla basket. Keep covered until served.

5. For quesadillas, make tortillas slightly thicker and smaller. Place about 1 tablespoon shredded cheese on 1 side of tortilla. If desired, add sliced green chile, bit of cooked chorizo, few shreds cooked chicken, machaca or any other desired filling. With aid of plastic sheet, fold tortilla in half and press to seal.

6. Fry in deep oil heated to 370 degrees until browned, about 3 minutes. Drain on paper towels.

Advertisement
Los Angeles Times Articles
|
|
|