I stopped making fresh tortillas a few years ago when I lost my tortilla press in my divorce. The other day I got a new tortilla press, and I don’t know why I didn’t do it sooner. For a mere $15.95 I could have had fresh, fat free, low calorie tortillas anytime I wanted them, a cost that I would have recouped after the first few batches I made vs. buying Mi Abuelita Bonita tortillas at Whole Foods. Don’t get me wrong, Mi Abuelita Bonita tortillas are a great product that I have written about before, and they in no way resemble the the crap on the end of the supermarket isle. That said, nothing beats a freshly cooked homemade tortilla.
These are surprisingly easy to make once you know a couple of key points. The first is allowing the dough to sit for at least 30 minutes prior to making the tortillas allows the masa to absorb the liquid and will give your tortillas a better texture that is more pilable and less crumbly. The second is using parchment paper in the tortilla press. There are tons of recipes out there for tortillas that recommend wrapping the press in plastic wrap, or using pieces of garbage bags, or putting a freezer bag around each of the flat surfaces. I have found that using plastic is really cumbersome. It doesn’t want to hold to the press, and it’s really hard to get the pressed tortillas off it. Parchment paper works great though. You may need two or three pieces to make a batch of tortillas though, because once the paper has absorbed a certain amount of moisture, it becomes a little more difficult to work with.
Summer is almost here, and summer is taco season. Pair these with homemade “refried” black beans, mango salsa, and cliantro lime crema and you have a world-class taco. Or “refried” black beans, shredded pepper jack cheese and pico de gallo. Or use them for shrimp or fish tacos.