Tortilla food tip

Yield: 1 servings

Measure Ingredient


Tortillas, the bread of Mexican cooking, have become a staple in many kitchens. They're the emergency fast food for a quick dinner. With a can of refried beans in the cupboard and grated cheese in the refrigerator, dinner can be ready in minutes. With a few essentials in the pantry, you have the versatility to create all kinds of filled tortillas.

Tortillas are used for tacos, burritos, chimichangas, fajitas, enchiladas, flauta, quesadillas and many other Mexican foods.

While sizes and names vary, tortillas fall into one of two categories: flour, made with wheat flour, water and fat; and corn, made with masa, a soft flour made from cornmeal treated with lime water.

STORING TORTILLAS Tortillas stored at room temperature will maintain good quality for about 10 days. They will keep much longer stored in the refrigerator. Even though they are kept at room temperature at some supermarkets, most packages call for refrigerating after purchase. They are OK to use as long as they do not have mold on them or are not too dry.

Frozen tortillas will keep for several months with little or no loss of flavor. To use, simply separate the number you want and place them on the counter a few minutes to thaw before using as desired. Be sure to remove any ice crystals and blot any moisture before heating them; this helps prevent soggy spots. WARMING TORTILLAS Cold corn and flour tortillas can be brittle. They are easier to use if they are at room temperature or warm, especially if they will be folded or rolled.

There are several ways to heat or soften them: heat a dry skillet, saute pan or griddle over medium heat. Warm a tortilla about 30 seconds, or until the heat from the pan causes them to puff up. Turn tortilla and heat the second side about 15 seconds. Fold or roll immediately.

To warm in the microwave, place a stack of tortillas between two slightly dampened paper towels; microwave 30 seconds to 1 minute depending on number of tortillas. Keep wrapped until ready to serve.

To heat in conventional oven, wrap the tortillas in aluminum foil and seal completely. Place in preheated 250 degree to 300 degree F oven; warm 5 to 10 minutes or until the tortillas are heated through.

For corn tortillas, you can also pour 1 teaspoon vegetable oil in a heavy frying pan or griddle. When the oil begins to smoke, add the tortilla and fry about 1 minute until it begins to puff. Turn and fry on the other side for 1 minute longer.

FOLDING A BURRITO Place an 8 or 10 inch tortilla on a flat surface.

Spoon the desired filling in the center of the tortilla, mounding lengthwide; be careful not to use too much or the tortilla might rip open when rolled.

Then fold the right and left sides of the tortilla in toward the center so they just touch the edges of the filling. Holding the sides in place with your fingers, roll up the bottom edge of the tortilla over the filling and toward the top. Place the burrito seam side down in a pan or dish before heating or serving if necessary.

Source: Sharon Maasdam, FoodDay home economist Typos by Dorothy Flatman 1995

Submitted By DOROTHY FLATMAN On 07-04-95

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