Tortillas Locas

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Tortillas
Where to begin with this the daily bread of Mexico so common and yet seemingly misunderstood by many? Most are familiar with the common northern flour tortilla, when done right can be a great accompaniment to a sturdy plate of red chile or carne asada. A delicate hand stretched griddled one can be a wonder, especially if you have only had a spongy pale thing so often served in the US. What I want to convey most of all is the wonder of the corn tortilla and its place at your table. In my mind a dinner would not be complete without a corn tortilla at hand. Often I use it like a biscuit to sop up the remaining bits of scrap on my plate. The corn tortilla has an earthiness that completes so many dishes and lifts them to another level. Try the Mole with a flour tortilla, then a corn tortilla and you will get it. It just tastes that right and seems to elevate the flavors.

A few things to look for in your tortillas, if you aren't making your own: for the table I like a thick tortilla usually called table enchilada, available in white or yellow. I find that the yellow usually has a deeper flavor and the white seems to be milder to me. Heat over an open flame until slightly charred or use a dry skillet then wrap in a towel and serve immediately. For tacos I look for small, 4 inch diameter corn tortillas that are on the thick side and heat toss in a skillet with a smear of oil or lard on one side. For my enchiladas I like the thick yellow ones. For flautas or chilaquiles I like a thinner stone ground and somewhat tougher tortilla that will hold up or crisp up nicely. These would also be my choice for chips or tostadas. 

Tortillas Locas
Literally "crazy tortillas," and rightfully so. Who but a crazy man would think to infuse a fresh flour tortilla with corn kernels? Make sure to have plenty of flour to dust with as you are rolling them out because as you press on the dough balls the corn will explode giving them the tendency to stick. If you can find flour for tortillas it is softer and makes a difference.

4 cups flour
1/2 cup lard
1 tsp salt
1 1/4 cups warm water
1 1/2 cups fresh corn kernels
1/2 cup maseca mixed with 1/2 cup flour reserved for dusting
1/4 tsp baking powder

- In a large bowl combine the 4 cups flour, salt, baking powder and lard, add water and knead until smooth, about 5 minutes.
- Divide the dough into pieces slightly larger than a golf ball and flatten them slightly take about a tablespoon of corn and encase it by reforming dough balls around the corn.
- Place the dough in a lightly greased pan and set aside to rest for a half hour or so.
- Have ready your maseca and flour, dust your table and a rolling pin flatten a ball of dough slightly and dust that as well, now roll the tortilla out turning and dusting as needed while rolling to your desired thickness,err on the side of thick to make life easier to stop sticking and reserve between sheets of wax paper.
- When done rolling your tortillas heat a large skillet or comal over medium high heat and cook on one side for about 35 seconds flip it and cook for about 40 seconds more or until you have some brown spots.
- Stack tortillas on a plate and cover with a towel to keep them from drying out.