Update 02-28-08: Michelle from Culinography is hosting the event Homegrown Gourmet this month and she chose breakfast as the theme for this month’s event. I think this is the perfect dish for this event because the rules say that the recipe has to somehow represent the participants home region, town, state, area. I am not in Mexico but Mexico is where I was born and raised so I believe this dish is perfect for this event.
One of my favorite subjects in school was history. Learning how people from other times lived and ate has always fascinated me. That’s why I love the history of corn. The indigenous peoples of America (the continent) have eaten it for thousands of years and it is still the mainstay of many countries diets. In Mexico the most common way to eat corn is in the form of tortillas. In most Mexican households tortillas are eaten at breakfast, lunch and dinner. They are a fundamental part of Mexican cuisine, history and culture. A traditional Mexican family dinner table has always a basket of fresh and hot tortillas in the middle. They are the bread of the Mexican dinner.
However, there are other countless ways to eat tortillas. They can be toasted or fried to use them as tostadas. They can be stuffed and serve with a salsa as enchiladas. They can be used for tacos, quesadillas, chilaquiles and the dough can be used to make tamales, gorditas, fried quesadillas and sopes. This is a recipe to make breakfast sopes, (they were a very popular item at my parents’ restaurant in Mexico) but keep in mind that the toppings can be almost anything you want for any meal of the day. These sopes are one of the best breakfasts you’ll ever have
- •2 cups corn flour or masa harina
- •1¼ cups water
- •3 TBSP vegetable oil
- •1 cup refried beans
- •4 eggs, scrambled
- •½ cup queso fresco, grated
- •chopped onion
- •sour cream
- •1 medium sized avocado
- First you need to make the sopes. You can make as many as you want, but two cups of tortilla flour will make about 4-6 depending on the size.
- Preheat a large heavy skillet over medium heat.
- Mix water and flour in a large bowl and mix with your hands until you get a firm dough that doesn’t break when you make balls with it. Add more water or flour to adjust to the desire consistency.
- Cut two circles out of a clean grocery bag. This is the easy way to make sopes and tortillas. The hard way would be trying to make the sopes with your hands with a clapping-like motion. I haven’t master this technique so I recommend the first one.
- Put a ball of dough between the 2 circles of plastic and press it with a tortilla presser (If you don’t have a tortilla presser you can use a heavy skillet or pot to make the shells. That is the way I do it. I know, shame on me!) to make flat and somehow thick dough circles (or ovals as in my case) You can make them as big or small as you want. Sopes are traditionally small round shells and the ones I made in some parts of Mexico are called huaraches (Mexican sandals) But the size will depend on your appetite. Also, if you are making tortillas and not sopes then the shells must be very thin.
- Put the tortilla (or sope in this case) on the skillet and let it cook for several seconds. Flip it over as soon as it doesn’t stick to the skillet anymore and there’s no more steam coming out of it (about 30 to 45 seconds)
- Let the other side cook for 3-4 minutes or as soon as brown spots start to appear on the side that is facing down.
- Flip over the tortilla over again and let the first side cook for other 2-3 minutes, or until it starts turning golden brown. You know you made the perfect tortilla if it “inflates” on this last step. There is a saying in Mexico about being ready to get married if your tortillas inflate. This 3-step way of cooking tortillas will leave a “pancita” (front) on the shell. This side will be thinner than the back and it’s the one that should face you when you serve them.
- Let them cool for a little while and (pancita facing you) pinch the edges to make a border that will hold the filling. This is what gives the mane picaditas (pinched shells) to sopes in some parts of the country. The sope has to be warm enough to avoid breaking the edges.
- Fry the sopes (pancita first) in vegetable oil for about 4-5 minutes.
- Flip over and top with refried beans (I used this bean sauce), salsa, cheese, eggs, lettuce, onion and avocado.
- Serve hot and buen provecho!