Sometimes there are things that you do on a day to day basis that seem so natural, so obvious, that sometimes it escapes you that others might not know something that you think is… Well obvious.
One of them was brought to my attention some time ago when I went to a new-ish friend’s house for dinner. We had made them tacos one night and they were returning the favor, having a nice spread of fixin’s for making our own tacos. You really can’t go wrong with having a Make-It-Your-Self taco bar. But there was one problem. They were trying to use corn tortillas, but they didn’t cook them first.
Yeah, you actually have to cook the tortillas to get them to be that soft and pliable texture so you can fold them around your favorite food. They kept going on about how messy and unreliable they were so they just switched back to their flour tortillas (cold out the package also). I didn’t have the courage to bring up the fact that you actually had to warm or cook them before they were usable, the fear of sounding like I was preaching or being snide wouldn’t let me do it. I liked them, I didn’t want them to start hating me so soon in our new friendship.
It didn’t strike me until much later that maybe they just didn’t know. Not everyone is an obsessive-must-know-everything person and researches until they find the answer. Plus I just grew up with having a taco night with my parents, using corn tortillas never flour. Maybe they just didn’t know you had to cook them.
So maybe others don’t know either? That’s pretty much what’s prompting me in this one. Maybe they just didn’t know. So here we go.
There are technically a few ways to cook the tortillas: grill, fry, or steam. By grill I mean over an open flame, usually a burner on the stove, and just heat them until they start turning slightly brown and become easier to use. Fry in oil for just a minute and pat off the extra oil. Or steam by wrapping in a wet paper towel and microwaving for 15-20 seconds at a time, checking to make sure they don’t over cook but just become pliable and damp.
I prefer to pan fry using olive oil, mostly because I don’t have a deep fryer or that much oil that I want to keep handy. So I find this easier and it works just fine.
Drizzle olive oil onto the tortillas and brush the oil around evenly on the tortillas. You don’t need a lot, but enough to cover a side without being drippy. You also need to not pour olive oil while taking a picture and end up with a big puddle dripping off of your tortillas. That’s what happens when I try to pretend that I’m so cool, I just make a mess. Ha!
Put the tortillas oil side down in a hot preheated pan over medium-ish heat. Brush the tortillas again with the oil and cook until they get all nice and bubbly.
After about a minute or two flip the tortillas and you should see a nice golden color to some parts of the tortillas. Let them sit for another minute or so, until the other side cooks and then remove.
Here you can see the difference between the cooked and uncooked tortillas. Easy! Now you’ll have tortillas that you can actually fold in half without that horrible tragedy of a broken taco. Trust me, it’s definitely something that needs to be done when making anything with corn tortillas.
And now, TACOS!