(Photo courtesy of SaucyGlo at flickr.com.)
For those who haven’t ever tried it, forget that it’s cheaper, you can make delicious chips out of tortillas. Also, it saves money.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Brush both sides of the tortillas with the oil. Stack the tortillas and cut the pile into sixths to make chips. Spread the chips out in a single layer on two large baking sheets and season with salt. Bake until golden brown and crisp, rotating the baking sheets once, about 12 to 15 minutes. Serve.
While it’s nice to make tortillas, I don’t go that far because the tortillas sold in my store are very inexpensive and quite good. If you don’t have that available locally, getting some maize and a tortilla iron might be fun to do, also. Here’s the way;
To make 16-18 tortillas, start with putting 2 cups of masa flour in a large bowl. (Hint: for added “lift” you can mix in 1/4 teaspoon of baking soda.) Add 1 1/2 to 2 cups of very warm water to the masa flour (according to the directions on the package, some brands may call for different amounts of water). Mix in and let sit for 5 minutes or so. Begin working the masa with your hands to make the dough. Work the dough for several minutes. Press the dough with your fingers and the palms of your hands as if you were kneading bread dough. If at any point through the tortilla making process the dough seems too dry or too wet, add a little more water or masa to the dough.
Take a piece of the masa dough and shape it into a ball the size of a plum, or slightly large golf ball. Make about 16-18 balls from the dough.
Take two pieces of wax paper or plastic from a plastic bag and cut them to the shape of the surface of the tortilla press. Open the tortilla press and lay one piece of wax paper on the press. Place the masa ball in the center. Place another piece of wax paper over the masa ball. Gently close the press and press down, until the dough has spread to a diameter of 6 inches.
Heat a griddle or a large skillet on high heat. Working one at a time, hold a tortilla in your hand, carefully removing the wax paper on each side. Allow the tortilla to rest half on your hand, and half hanging down, and gently lay the tortilla down on to the skillet. Start working on pressing the next tortilla. Cook the tortilla on the hot pan for 30 seconds to a minute on each side. The tortilla should be lightly toasted and little air pockets forming.
Remove the tortillas to a tortilla warmer lined with dish towel or paper towels, or wrap them in a dish towel to keep them warm. Serve immediately or refrigerate and reheat.
When they’re fresh and hot, spooning on refried beans, fresh onions and some cheese makes a wonderful treat. You can get fancier and have actual tacos with ground meat and salsa with a bit of cayenne pepper and/or chili tossed in. Or use the package of mix and go easy style.