I stole a Mexican cooking magazine from my mother-in-law a few weeks ago simply called Mexican, by Better Homes and Gardens, 2011 edition. Well, that’s not quite true. She’s a lovely, gracious woman and had no problem with me borrowing it however long I needed to. I’m a lucky daughter-in-law, the luckiest.
I’m in love with all the ideas in the magazine. There’s page after page of gorgeous, fresh ideas and if I could, I’d make pretty much all of them. These little fellas, though, these tortitas – Spanish for pancakes – stood out because of the great photograph of them. And they sounded so, so good. Basically, I suppose, the recipe takes the idea of a pancake, but makes a savory version. They’re perfect for laying out for guests to snack on, or as a side to other similarly inspired dishes. They’re full of several flavors that marry well. And it’s hard to school yourself to eating only a couple. You’ve been warned.
You start these little guys off by shredding zucchini and stripping a couple of ears of fresh corn. We opted for an ear of light and yellow corn. It’s just fun to use as varied a mixture as possible sometimes, to take advantage of the yumminess of both kinds of corn in this case. Draining them on paper towels is necessary to take away a lot of the moisture.
The fresh veggies are mixed with two eggs, Monterey Jack cheese, crushed cumin seeds and a little salt and pepper. I love it when a mixture looks so edible and tasty – this is when you know the end product’s going to taste great.
Heat a little oil in a skillet and you’re on your way to savory, smokey (from the cumin) tortitas!
To make the sauce, which you probably want to do before you actually fry up the tortitas, you need several of these little guys – tomatillos. This was our first experience with them, well mine anyway, and I was surprised at how tart they were. As in very tart. Way tart. But I’ve always loved how they look, more like tiny green pumpkins, suited to a Wizard of Oz landscape.
After ridding the tomatillos of their husks, and splitting open and seeding some poblano peppers, it’s time to roast them all.
The tomatillos get very soft and tossed in the food processor to cool.
The poblanos are wrapped in aluminum foil to help sweat the skins off, which you then peel and pull off. See notes below on alternate ways to do this.
After pureeing them in the food processor, the tomatillos and poblanos are cooked briefly on the stove top with garlic, chicken stock and a little sugar. In all honesty, I wasn’t thrilled with the sauce at first. Remember me saying how tart the tomatillos are? The sugar helps cut that down some. Sis blogging partner loved it, but I still wasn’t sure about the taste.
Turns out the sauce is phenomenal with the tortitas. Somehow dipping the tortita in the sauce helps cut down the tang of the sauce even more and the two just complement one another.
It was hard to save any of these for others to enjoy. We usually split what we’ve cooked between my husband and I and kidlet, my sis and her guy and our parents, so everyone can get a little taste. And not that I don’t want others to enjoy what we cook, but sometimes I guess I enjoy some of it too much.
These things are awesome. They’re gooey because of the cheese. They’re smokey and a little spicy thanks to the cumin and cheese. The zucchini and corn are fresh and sweet. It all meets up to make a great little treat of a snack! We couldn’t have been happier with them. And – we can’t wait to try more recipes from this magazine!
Zucchini and Corn Tortitas with Tomatillo-Cilantro Sauce
from Mexican magazine, 2011, Better Homes and Gardens
Prep Time: 20 minutes Cook Time: 45 minutes Level: Intermediate Servings: About 20, depending on size
For the tortitas:
- 1 large zucchini (8 ounces)
- 2 eggs, lightly beaten
- 1 1/2 cups shredded Chihauhau, asadero or Monterey Jack cheese
- 2/3 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/3 cup chopped green onions
- 2 teaspoons cumin seeds, crushed
- 1 teaspoon dried Mexican oregano or regular dried oregano, crushed
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup fresh or frozen whole kernal corn
- 2 to 4 tablespoons vegetable oil
For the sauce:
- 8 tomatillos
- 2 poblano peppers
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/2 cup chicken stock
- 1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
- salt and pepper
- a few pinches of sugar, to taste
To make the tortitas:
Coarsely shred zucchini. You should have about 1 – 2 cups. Drain on several paper towels. Pat dry with more paper towels.
In a large bowl, stir together eggs, cheese, flour, green onions, cumin seeds, oregano and salt. Stir in zucchini and corn.
In a large skillet, heat two teaspoons of oil over medium-high heat. Drop rounded teaspoons of the mixture into the hot oil; coo,k for four minutes or until golden brown, turning once during process to cook both sides. Drain on paper towels. Repeat with remaining mixture, adding oil as needed. Serve with Tomatillo-Cilatro Sauce.
To make the sauce:
Preheat broiler. Place the husked tomatillos and poblano peppers, halved and seeded, on a foil-lined baking sheet. Broil 4 inches from the heat for about 8 minutes or until charred and blistered, turning once halfway through broiling time. Transfer tomatillos to a food processor or blender. Wrap peppers in foil for 10 minutes to cool; peel off and discard skins. Add peppers to food processor and blend until smooth.
In a large skillet, heat one tablespoon oil over medium heat. Add garlic and cook for 30 seconds or until golden brown. Add tomatillo mixture. Simmer, uncovered, for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in the chicken broth and simmer again for 5 minutes more. Cool slightly. Stir in the cilantro. Season with salt and pepper. If the sauce is too tart, add sugar to taste to cut the tang down. Serve warm or at room temperature.
To peel the skins off the poblano peppers, you can also put them in a bowl covered with plastic wrap, or put them in a sealed plastic food storage bag, too. Cool as directed above and peel.
I should also note that we probably had a little more than one cup of both the corn and zucchini. Once I shredded the zucchini and stripped the ears of corn, I didn’t want to waste it, so we threw it all in and it worked out great. We probably had closer to two cups of each, and maybe that’s why we got as many of the tortitas as we did.