It’s Friday. And by Friday afternoon, we have, what Daniel Tiger calls, mixed up feelings. Tired from the week yet excited for the weekend, with a nearly empty fridge, but an always stocked pantry. What will we make of it? Isn’t that always the question? We pull out the bag of masa from the pantry. Add a generous pinch of salt and some warm water. And somehow, we make something special out of our scraps, enough to yield a thrill, a delicious dinner, and homemade corn tortillas on a Friday night. Enough to remind me of my teenage weekends growing up in Texas—steamy tortillas, crispy chips, smoky salsa, and a hot sizzling skillet around the restaurant table with my family.
This post was created in partnership with Sub-Zero, Wolf, and Cove, who support our same belief to live colorfully, generously, and deliciously.
This tortilla-making ritual was birthed on a recent Friday afternoon when it was too cold to play outside or walk to the grocery store, when we were looking for something to do with a tiny chunk of time, while our heads twitched on a swivel in anticipation of the garage door opening to signal, Dad’s home! It’s the twitchiest on a Friday. Well, one time turned into another time, and another, until we had a ritual on our hands.
Fajitas or tacos have always been our thing on a Friday. But homemade corn tortillas are the newest addition to this ritual. Here’s how it goes—Hal dumps and stirs together the 3 ingredients. She doesn’t like to get her hands dirty. Or maybe it’s that she doesn’t like to wash her hands, so I finish kneading it together. With the dough requiring at least a 30-minute rest, I forgo prepping the remainder of the meal, though that pocket of time is perfect for that, and opt for the workout I’ve been putting off all week. If you need a nudge to workout, try making corn tortillas.
We come back to the rested round slab of play dough, dividing it into hunks to be rolled into balls. Hal takes over the tortilla press, squeezing these yellow balls into flat pancakes with all her might, carefully peeling the dough away from the parchment paper. I blast Spanish Guitar radio by way of Pandora over the speakers. We shake our shoulders and cook off the tortillas. It’s starting to feel like Friday, a Friday I knew well growing up in Texas, which often tasted like corn tortillas and fajitas. The margarita must be coming soon.
When you slice a moment out of a day, it’s just an ordinary moment. But, when you add up all the little moments, all the tortillas, and the shoulder shakes, you have a ritual, a rhythm, something special to see you through the sleepy end of the week and usher you into the freedom of a weekend, something that will inevitably press a memory into your mind, something that has the ability to transcend a generation, and something to guarantee that youlive deliciously, as my friends at Sub-Zero, Wolf, and Cove say. To all those things I say—Amen. Is it Friday night yet?
When you put homemade and tortillas next to each other, it sounds intimidating. I promise this 3 ingredient recipe is anything but. With a tortilla press and the grit of a 5-year-old, you’ll have the most delicious corn tortillas for taco and fajita night. Note, this recipe requires 30 minutes of rest time, so plan accordingly.
1 c. masa harina* 1/2 tsp. kosher salt 3/4 c. – 1 c. warm water
Add the masa and salt to a mixing bowl and stir together. Add in 3/4 cup of the warm water, and stir together until dough just comes together, pouring in additional water as needed, a little at a time. Finish by kneading the dough together until evenly combined, and the dough is smooth. The dough should be neither dry nor sticky, but should slightly spring back with a thumbprint press, like Playdoh. If the dough is too wet, knead in a bit more masa. Too dry, knead in a bit more water. You’ll get the feeling of the correct consistency the more you work with the dough. Cover dough with a damp dish towel to keep from drying out, and allow to rest for at least 30 minutes, up to an hour.
Using a butter knife or pastry bench, cut the dough into 10 equal chunks, and roll into balls.
Preheat a cast iron skillet over medium-low heat. Meanwhile, using a tortilla press lined with parchment paper, place a ball between the sheets of parchment and press. Turn the dough around and press once more to make sure the thickness is even throughout. Carefully pull the tortilla away from the parchment. Place on the hot skillet, and cook for about 1 minute on each side or until cooked through. Store in a tortilla warmer or wrapped in a dish towel. The steam will soften the tortillas. Serve.
Buy the best Masa Harina you can find, organic if possible. I prefer Bob’s Red Mill.
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