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Thursday, June 16, 2011 07:02 pm

Basic instructions for cooking tortillas


The traditional way of making tortillas is to add the egg-plus-filling mixture to a hot, oiled skillet. When the eggs begin to solidify on the bottom, the tortilla is flipped upside down onto a plate, the skillet wiped out and re-oiled; the tortilla is then slid back into the skillet. The process is repeated until the tortilla is cooked through. Sometimes another same-size skillet is used instead of a plate. Tortillas made this way have nicely rounded edges, but the method is tricky, and has great potential of creating a mess. Over the years, I’ve come up with a couple of alternative less risky ways to cook tortillas. All three are listed below.

  • 6 eggs
  • 2 or more T. extra virgin olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste

 In a large bowl, beat the eggs just until combined. Add the filling(s) and season to taste with salt and pepper. Let stand for 15-30 minutes.

Heat a nine- to ten-inch nonstick skillet over high heat and add 2 T. olive oil. When hot (but not smoking) add egg mixture. Immediately turn the heat down to low and shake the pan gently. There are three ways to complete the tortilla:

TRADITIONAL METHOD: Stir mixture a few minutes without touching the bottom. Once it’s begun solidifying, flip the pan upside down onto a plate, then wipe out the skillet if necessary, add another tablespoon of olive oil and slide the tortilla off the plate, back into the skillet. Repeat until the tortilla is cooked through.

BROILER METHOD: After the tortilla has formed a solid mass on the underside, transfer it to a broiler that has been turned to high heat. Check every couple of minutes. When the tortilla has formed a solid “crust” on top, stir that cooked surface into the liquid egg mixture underneath and return to the broiler. Continue until the tortilla is cooked through. This is the easiest method.

COMBINED METHOD: Follow step 2 until the tortilla’s center is creamy and almost completely solidified. Then proceed as in the traditional method until the tortilla is completely cooked through. This gives the tortilla the traditional rounded-edge shape with less potential for mess than the first method.

Turn the tortilla onto a large platter. Cut into wedges or squares. Garnish with appropriate grated cheese or herbs if desired. Serve warm or at room temperature. Serves 4 as a main course, 6 or more as part of a tapas spread.

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