I'm vacationing on the Outer Banks this week. It's wonderful. I get to do things I never have time for, like read books and cook without the pressure of a clock weighing on me. So far there have been lots of delicious dinners. I ordered a tortilla press one year ago. A year passed and no handmade tortillas. Then I saw this article in the June issue of Bon Appettit for tacos and thought there is no better place for a taco party then on vacation, at the beach, so I packed my tortilla press. One of the first nights we were on vacation, we made homemade corn tortillas.
Making tortillas was easier than I thought. You mix up the dough, roll it into little balls, press it, and then fry them on the stovetop. You need a tortilla press, of course (though I'm sure some elbow grease and a rolling pin would work just as well). You also need parchment paper, to line the press so the dough doesn't stick. (The recipe calls for a plastic bag, but I'm partial to parchment paper. I also found that you don't need a cast iron griddle, which our cottage did not have. I tried a stainless steel pan and a nonstick and found that the nonstick pan worked better). The recipe is below.
- 2 cups (or more) masa (corn tortilla mix; preferably Maseca brand)
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- Vegetable oil (for brushing)
Whisk masa and salt in a medium bowl. Stir in 1 1/2 cups water; knead in bowl until dough forms. The dough should feel firm and springy and look slightly dry (think Play-Doh). Add more water by tablespoonfuls if too crumbly; add a little more masa if too wet.
Measure 1 heaping Tbsp. dough and roll into a ball. Flatten on a tortilla press lined with a plastic bag. If tortilla crumbles, dough is too dry (add more water); if it sticks to the plastic, dough is too wet (add more masa). Repeat, pressing out 2 more tortillas.
Heat a large cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat; lightly brush with oil. Cook 2–3 tortillas until charred in spots and edges start to curl, 1–2 minutes. Turn; cook through, about 15 seconds. Transfer to a kitchen towel; fold over to keep warm. Repeat, in batches, with remaining dough.
I served grilled chicken seasoned with chipotle spice for the proteien. For the fixins, there was pickeled onions, a variation on this corn salad, chopped purple cabbage, chipole sour cream, green salsa, onions, and cilantro.
The dinner was amazing. The tortillas were crunchy, but pliable, and you could taste the corn, so much better than the cardboard supermarket tortillas I've become accustomed to. I'm stunned by how easy it was. The tortillas came together in less than 15 minutes from start to finish. Something I could accomplish before a dinner party, or even a weeknight.
The lighthouse at Ocracoke.
Josie having her first go at watermelon. She loved it!
She also loves walking/sleeping strolling on the beach.