La Boco Loca Tortillas & Quesadillas de Hongos
Makes about 16 tortillas, about 15cm wide
2 cups masa harina
½ teaspoon fine salt
about 2 cups warm water
Combine the masa harina and salt in a bowl, mixing together with your hands. Add ¼ cup of the water and mix well. Add the rest of the water little by little, mixing until the dough doesn’t stick to your hand anymore. Divide dough into 25g balls about the size of a golf ball. Cover with a moist tea towel.
To use a tortilla press, cut two sheets of plastic, large enough to cover the surface of the press, from a supermarket shopping bag. Place one sheet of plastic on the base of the press, place one ball of masa on top of it, in the middle of the circle, and place the remaining sheet of plastic on top before pressing. The plastic will keep your tortilla from sticking to the press.
If you don’t have tortilla press, you can use a heavy wooden chopping board. But don’t forget the plastic or you may find yourself cursing as you try to peel your tortilla off the board.
Immediately place the pressed tortilla onto a preheated nonstick pan or griddle and allow to cook for about 20 seconds. Turn tortilla over and cook for another 45 seconds. Flip once more and gently press down to encourage puffing; cook for another 45 seconds. Repeat process with each ball of dough.
Wrap tortillas with a towel to keep warm and moist until ready to serve.
Quesadillas de Hongos ( Mushroom Quesadillas)
50g sliced field mushrooms, portobello or oyster, or a mix
1 medium brown onion, finely diced
2 cloves garlic, raw or confit
50g chipotle chillies, minced
Preheat grill until hot. Place a tortilla on it with a spoonful of your chosen filling (see below) at centre, sprinkle with grated cheese, fold tortilla in half to cover filling. Cook until cheese is melted. Flip and cook for 1 minute longer. Serve immediately, with guacamole and pica de galla.
Pico de gallo
Makes 2 to 3 cups
2 tablespoons lime or lemon juice
pinch flaky salt
1 medium red or brown onion, finely diced
1 to 3 fresh serrano or jalapeño chillies, seeded and finely diced (optional)
6 plum tomatoes, seeded and finely diced
¼ cup chopped fresh coriander leaves
‘Pico de gallo’ describes a variety of regional salsas made with fresh cubed fruit or vegetables, often served with tacos. This is the most common version, made with red tomato, onion and green chillies.
Add lime juice and salt to onion. Set aside for about 30 minutes to soften raw onion flavour. Add finely diced chilli, tomato and coriander and serve.
Note: By substituting other fruit for the tomatoes you can make lots of delicious seasonal options. In autumn we make a feijoa version, in winter we’ve used tamarillo, and in summer a classic fresh tomato pico. Experiment with whatever fruit is in season!
Some people say that the salsa makes the Mexican meal. We’d argue that the quality of the tortillas and the freshness of all the ingredients matter just as much. But there’s no question that salsas are key to creating flavour and variety in Mexican dishes. We’ve included a selection of fresh salsas (including the essential pico de gallo) and cooked salsas. Many recipes in this book call for one or more, so developing your confidence with these salsas is a great place to start your Mexican culinary adventures.
You’d be hard pressed to find a Mexican dish more beloved than this one. Even if you’ve never been in a Mexican restaurant, the odds are very good that you’ve dipped a corn chip into a bowl of this gorgeous green goodness. For best results, use freshly squeezed lime juice and the best avocados you can find.
¼ brown or red onion, finely chopped
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh coriander leaves
1 tablespoon minced jalapeño or serrano chilli (optional)
2 large avocados
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice
salt and freshly ground black pepper
totopos (corn chips) for serving
Using a mortar and pestle, mash together chopped onion, 1 tablespoon coriander and ½ tablespoon chillies (if using) to make a rough paste. Transfer to medium bowl.
Cut avocados in half lengthwise and remove stones. Use a spoon to scoop flesh into bowl with the onion paste. Gently mash and mix with a fork until chunky-smooth.
Fold remaining coriander and chilli into mixture, tasting along the way to check heat.
Fold in lime juice, add salt and pepper to taste, and serve with a basket of corn chips or slices of cucumber.
Reproduced from La Boca Loca , distributed by Potton & Burton, RRP$60.00, available nationwide or from www.labocaloca.co.nz. © Text/recipes: Lucas Putnam & Marianne Elliott © Images: Nicola Edmonds