5 new uses for tortillas
Pick a culture with ancient food traditions—anywhere from Mexico to Turkey to India—and there is often a thin, tasty flatbread at its heart. In America, the tortilla is a flatbread with grassroots appeal, due to the growth of the Hispanic population and the perennial popularity of Mexican favorites such as tacos, enchiladas and burritos, as well as wrap sandwiches of every description.
However, in addition to beloved Mexican recipes, foodservice directors are leveraging tortillas in an array of street food applications and cross-cultural mashups that bring excitement and variety to mealtimes. Premade flour, corn and whole-grain tortillas make it easy to create global flights of fancy because they are versatile, flavorful and quick and easy to serve.
Here are five ideas for using tortillas to break new ground on menus.
Go flat out
The cultures of the Eastern Mediterranean have a long history of enjoying floppy, chewy flatbreads with meals. Flour or whole-grain tortillas are great stand-ins for laffa, a Middle Eastern flatbread that is typically torn into hunks and used to scoop up such dips as hummus and baba ghanoush or to wrap kebab sandwiches. To prepare the tortillas, just lightly brush them with olive oil, sprinkle them with smoked paprika, zatar (a mix of dried herbs and toasted sesame seeds) and chopped parsley and cut them into serving wedges.
Mix it up
Another fresh idea from the Middle East that’s been around for millennia is fattoush, a big, chopped salad of assorted fresh vegetables with a pita bread garnish. It is easy to make in noncommercial kitchens by toasting or grilling flour or whole-grain tortillas and tearing them into pieces. Tossed into a heaping bowl of chopped lettuce, tomatoes, cucumbers and fresh herbs, sprinkled with allspice and cinnamon and dressed with olive oil and lemon, the tortilla chunks add chewiness and crunch.
Stir up breakfast
Migas and chilaquiles are comfort foods that might be easier to find in Mexican homes than Mexican restaurants. Migas is essentially scrambled eggs studded with pieces of crisp, fried corn tortillas, mixed with cheese, tomatoes and chilies. Chilaquiles features fried corn tortillas bathed in red or green salsa plus such additions as eggs, cheese and pulled chicken. Each is a hearty, zesty dish perfect for a substantial breakfast or brunch.
Serve curry in a hurry
Whole-wheat tortillas are reminiscent of chapatis, the thin, chewy, unleavened flatbreads that are traditional staples in India and neighboring lands of South Asia. They are pleasing accompaniments for such dishes as chicken tikka masala made with chicken thighs and a tomato-curry sauce with ginger and garlic.
Build a Turkish pie
Vary the pizza routine by taking a page from Turkish cookery. A flour tortilla is a good platform for lahmacun, a Turkish flatbread topped with spicy ground beef or lamb, chopped onions and tomatoes. Spice it up with cumin, cinnamon and paprika and top it with chopped parsley or a salad for a light and lively meal.
For more creative ways to use tortillas on your menu, visit Catallia here.