Serves: Makes 18 small tortillas
- 2 cups masa harina
- ½ teaspoon coarse salt
- 1½ cups warm water
Procedures:If you live in a community where you can buy fresh prepared masa, use it here. Otherwise, be sure to buy masa harina. Don’t try to substitute regular cornmeal. In Mexico, tortillas are consumed countless ways: as scoops for stews, beans, and eggs; as wrappers for meats and vegetables; and like pasta in casseroles (called dry soup; see next recipe).
- Place the masa harina and salt in a large bowl. Add the water and stir until combined. The mixture will be lumpy. reach into the bowl with your hands and work the dough into a smooth ball. If the dough is crumbly, add more moisture by dampening your hands with water and working it into the dough. The dough should be moist and smooth but not sticky. Wrap the dough tightly in plastic wrap and let stand at room temperature for 30 minutes.
- Place two 8- to 10-inch heavy skillets over medium-low heat. Dampen 2 dish towels and squeeze dry. Fold one in half on a rimmed sheet pan; reserve the other.
- Divide the dough into 18 equal portions and shape each portion into a ball between your palms. Cover the balls with plastic wrap to prevent drying. Cut open a 1-quart plastic food storage bag, and divide it into 2 equal pieces. lay 1 piece over the bottom plate of the tortilla press. Place 1 ball of dough on top of the plastic in the center of the plate and press lightly with the heel of your hand to flatten slightly. lay the second piece of plastic on top of the dough. Close the press, pulling the handle down gently to flatten the ball. open the press, rotate the plastic a quarter turn, and press again.
- Open the press and peel the top layer of plastic off the tortilla. Flip the tortilla onto your hand, plastic side up, and very gently pull the remaining plastic off the tortilla. If the tortilla tears, the dough may need more water. or, you may have to begin at another corner and pull more gently. slide the tortilla into a skillet and cook for 1 minute. using a wide spatula, turn the tortilla over. Increase the temperature to medium and cook for 1 minute more. Turn the tortilla back onto the first side and cook for 30 seconds more, or until lightly speckled with brown spots. Tap the surface of the tortilla with your fingertips and it should puff up. using the spatula, transfer the tortilla to the sheet pan, slipping it into the fold of the towel. (The puffed tortilla will quickly deflate.) repeat with the remaining dough balls.
- When all the tortillas are cooked and have cooled, stack them, place in a plastic bag, and store in the refrigerator for up to 1 week. use a stove-top pepper roaster and tortilla grill or a skillet to reheat the tortillas one at a time. or, wrap the stacked tortillas in aluminum foil and heat in a preheated 350°F oven for 10 minutes.