Sunday, 8 September 2013

Mini tortillas from the Cool Chile Company

Mis amigos at the Cool Chile Company have introduced a new size of corn tortilla, 10 cm (a standard size is 15 cm), and they were nice enough to send me some to try.

I'm always stoked about Cool Chile tortillas; as my regular readers know, they are the only tortillas in the UK I endorse.

Small but effective!
When I saw these little beauties, I instantly thought of making mini tostadas ("tostaditas" if you will).

Tostadas (literally "toasted tortillas": essentially tortillas fried until crisp and then topped with any number of delicious things) are something I've overlooked in this blog, despite the fact that they a popular and very satisfying Mexican snack.

I guess I often focus on more complicated recipes. But this year, what with the new baby and all, I've been rediscovering some of the less daunting, more doable dishes.

And tostadas are definitively doable, especially as you can top them with just about anything.

I had a "test-drive" tostada for breakfast to check the frying time. As you may have gathered from my method of making homemade tortilla chips, I don't always go for frying, but that is the most typical way to make tostadas.

Whereas for enchiladas (or just to revive a tortilla that has gone stale) you want to fry the tortilla for about ten seconds on each side, tostadas need a full minute on one side and somewhat less than a minute in the other.

I topped this little guy with a fried egg and some Cholula. Simple but delicious.

The fried egg is the same size as the tortilla!
However, for the main event, I reverted to my baking method.

Partly this was to save time. Even a full-sized tostada is really just an antojito (snack), so I figured we'd all need several of these mini ones to make a proper lunch. Therefore it was quicker to do six at a time in the oven instead of one at a time in the pan.

To make these "tostaditas": Grease a baking tray with olive oil, lay out your tortillas, and brush with more olive oil (I use a pastry brush).

Look how many fit on one baking tray!
Bake at 200° C for ten minutes.

Now you're ready for the toppings.

But first a note: while the baking method has the advantage of letting you do several at once, they tend to curl up more than if you do one at a time in a frying pan - where you can use your spatula to keep them flat(ter).

But no tostada is completely flat, so it's not a big deal.

Now, to top these bad boys I made some frijoles colados (Yucatecan style "sieved" beans) by frying some homemade frijoles negros de olla ("black beans cooked in a pot") and blending them until smooth with a hand-blender.

(I promise I have a post on frijoles de olla coming soon!)

I also had a jar of pickled cactus paddles on hand, so I used some of that.

(The cactus was surprisingly spicy; I later found a couple chiles serranos in the jar! Awesome!)

And finally I made a homemade smoked chile and tomato salsa by charring three tomatoes and two cloves of garlic on a hot dry frying pan until they all came up in black spots.

I then peeled the garlic and put it into the blender along with the tomatoes, a chopped white onion, a teaspoon of Mexican oregano, and a heaped teaspoon of Gran Luchito and blended it all to a textured sauce.

Then I heated a tablespoon and a half of olive oil in a pan and fried the sauce until it reduced and thickened.

The "silk-screen" effect is because one of these tostaditas is actually Cybill Shepherd
These "tostaditas" were  so delicious we had to make another batch right away.

Obviously the toppings were awesome, but I can't stress enough how delicious a good quality tortilla fried (or baked) crisp is. It is truly one of life's great pleasures.

Considering the size of these tortillas, you could almost think of these as garnachas, which some say are the true precursor to American nachos (others, like Thomasina Miers, award that title to chilaquiles).

Either way, you cannot go wrong with this dish.

Another top quality tortilla product from the Cool Chile Company.

Now a note on the photos...

I recently upgraded my phone. For the first couple weeks I noticed the camera had a peculiar bluish tint, and the image quality was somewhat blurry.

Then, after I took the photos for this post, I realized there was a piece of blue protective plastic covering the camera lens


In my defence the reviews of this phone indicated the camera would be quite a disappointment.

Next time the photos should be back to normal.