May 15, 2013

The Maine Ingredient: Tortilla flat-out worth the extra effort of making your own


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Servings: Four to six



1/2 cup julienned radish, about four radishes

1/2 cup julienned red onion, about half of a small onion

Pinch of kosher salt

Several grinds of fresh black pepper

1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

2 teaspoons lime juice, about a quarter of a lime

1 teaspoon minced cilantro

Combine all ingredients in a small bowl and serve.

Makes: 1 cup



This salsa is like a burst of sunshine in your mouth with fresh pineapple (not worth the effort with canned pineapple).

1/4 cup minced red pepper

3/4 cup finely diced pineapple

2 teaspoons fresh lime juice

1/2 teaspoon sugar

1/2 teaspoon minced jalapeno pepper

1 teaspoon cilantro

Pinch of salt

Combine all ingredients in a small bowl and serve.

Makes: 1 cup



If you have leftover tortillas, you can use them in soup like you would pasta. Just tear them into bite-sized pieces and let them simmer in the broth for about 5 minutes before you serve.

Two to three tortillas per person is about the right amount for a full meal.

13/4 cup masa harina

11/4 cups hot water

Combine the masa harina and water in a bowl and let sit, covered, for 30 minutes. Add more cool water 1 tablespoon at a time until the dough is workable but not too sticky; it should be pliable and easily rolled into a ball without sticking to your hands or cracking on the edges when you try to flatten it.

To press, use a plastic bag cut down to size and fit it over the tortilla press. Test dough in the press to be sure it's not too sticky or too dry. Divide the dough into 15 golf ball-sized rounds and cover with plastic wrap, as they tend to dry out quickly.

Heat a griddle or skillet that fits over two burners to two different heats: One side should be medium-low and the other medium or medium-high. Once the tortilla is pressed, peel the plastic off and flip onto the low-heat side for about 15 seconds. It will stick initially and then come loose. If you leave it too long on this side, it will tend to dry out. Then, with your fingers, flip to the higher-heat side for about 1 minute, or until it's browned a bit. Flip again on the higher-heat side and brown the other side. They should puff up if you've prepared them correctly.

Transfer to a cloth-lined basket and cover with the cloth. They are better when they've rested for about 10 minutes and steamed a bit in their own heat.

If you need to reheat the tortillas, place them, wrapped in cloth, in a steamer and steam for 10 minutes or so. Serve immediately.

Makes: 15 tortillas


Anne Mahle of Rockland is the author of "At Home, At Sea." She can be reached at


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