27 July 2009

How to make corn tortillas pliable

My little brother, Joe, and his girlfriend came over to our house recently for Garlicky Shrimp-Cilantro Tacos. (So yummy! I love Sunset.) Joe showed me something that really opened my eyes about corn tortillas.

You see, I've always had a love-hate relationship with corn tortillas. They're really yummy, but whenever I use them, they end up splitting and all my taco fillings fall out. That makes me sad. And I don't like to be sad when I'm trying to eat good food!

But I learned that, with a little bit of oil, I can make corn tortillas pliable and even, gasp, stretchable so that they can hold just about anything you want to put in them. This was new and very exciting information for me, and I would feel selfish keeping it to myself.

Pliable Corn Tortillas
2-4 Corn tortillas per person
1/2 tsp oil per batch of tortillas (I use either olive or canola, but you can use your favorite)

Heat a large skillet on medium high and add the oil. (I never measure. I just add a dollop of oil about the size of a nickel or quarter.)
When oil is heated, swirl it around to coat the entire pan as evenly as possible.
Add tortillas. I can fit three tortillas in my skillet, but will sometimes cram four in there. It's OK if they overlap some, as long as the majority of the tortilla is in contact with the pan.
Flip tortillas after 1-2 minutes to heat the other side. After another 1-2 minutes, transfer tortillas from pan to plate, serving dish, clean cutting board, etc.

Fill with yummy stuff. Serve.

*If you're not able to fill and serve them right away, they will stay warm for a little while on a foil-covered plate. (Length of time is untested, but I'd guess 10-15 mins.)

See? They're in there.



J I L L A I R E said...

Have you tried wrapping them in a damp kitchen towel inside a casserole dish? Put on the lid and microwave. It steams and warms them. I don't know if it's better or as good as the oil, but another tactic.

Marisa said...

I haven't tried that yet, but I will. I have a suspicion the light coating of oil is key to keep them from splitting. Next time I will try your steaming method and report back. :) Thanks!

Marisa said...

UPDATE: I tried microwaving the tortillas with a damp towel in a covered dish. Splitsville. Chicken all over my plate. Oil is the key!

Thanks for the idea, though, Jillaire! :)

sandra said...

I just found your blog and I'm in love!

I did want to tell you about the tortillas, though. If you can, buy the ones that are wrapped in the wax paper, not in the plastic bag. Then, to heat them just unwrap them, separate them one by one then stack them and wrap them up again. Then, warm them in the microwave for like a minute and a half or two.

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