I love family. I love learning. I love food. This is simply a collection of thoughts, memories, and recipes that are a piece of me!

Friday, April 15, 2016

Baked-ish Taquitos.

For years now, taquitos have been a staple party food for my family.

My mom started buying those boxes from the freezer section when I was in high school, and we discovered that they really do make a great little finger food for get togethers.  They aren't too messy, and they're a great change of pace from all the sweets when you want to serve something to guests, but a meal is just too much.

Then I discovered the taquitos on Olvera Street that are the perfect vessel to enjoy their yummy "green sauce." (Avocado Sauce)

And all of a sudden, taquitos were dinner.

After I had been making tamales for a while, I decided I wanted to give taquitos a shot.  I tried them a few times, but I always just ended up with a big mess.  Then one day, Bird's mom was in town, and she offered to show me how she made them.

And oh my word were they so good.

Apparently, I had been putting the filling in the wrong spot (on the side, not the middle, silly girl), and I needed a smaller pan to fry them in.  Crowding was key when frying so they didn't open.  White corn tortillas worked better than yellow for some reason, and the tortillas must be warm before I could roll them or else they'd break.

They were delicious, but they were still fried- which my doctor keeps warning me about.

I tried a few times to bake them, but they were never quite...right.  Pinterest told me I could bake the tortillas to get them crispy.  Pinterest is a liar.

I tried spraying them with cooking spray- which also did not work.

Honestly, I quit trying them because I felt like I was wasting so much delicious filling.

Then as I was frying up a batch for dinner, I had sort of an Ah-Ha! moment.  I really hate to call this a "recipe" because, well, it's not a recipe.  I'll just call this my process.

Here's what you'll need:
White corn tortillas
Some sort of filling that isn't too wet (I use this shredded beef for everything because...well, just try it and you'll understand.)
a couple cups of oil

You want to start with putting enough oil in a frying pan to drop your tortillas into and cover them completely.

Now you may be thinking, "But Mrs. Bird, I thought these were going to be baked!"  And you'd be right.  They are, but the oiling of the tortillas will do three very important things.
1. It will heat the tortillas through so they are pliable and won't fall apart.
2. It will allow the salt to stick.
3. It will cause the tortillas to crisp up real nice in the oven.

I like to think of these taquitos as a hybrid of baked/fried deliciousness.  You're welcome, Dr. Greer.

So step 1: drop a tortillas into the hot oil for about 2-3 seconds.  Do NOT let them crisp up or they will never ever roll up.  But if they DO crisp up, congratulations.  You just made a tostada shell.

Pull the tortilla out of the oil and drop it onto a paper towel lined plate, blotting both sides to remove as much excess oil as possible.  

About an inch to two inches from the side, spoon on your filling.  (Another great option would be shredded chicken mixed with enough green sauce to just coat it)

Taking care to not burn your fingers, quickly roll the taquito, laying it seam side down on a parchment lined cookie sheet.

Finish pre-frying (that's a word.), filling, and rolling all the taquitos, and add a shake of salt over the pan.

Bake at 400 for around 30 minutes, turning them once.

These come together much quicker than if I fry up several dozen (and much cleaner!), and when I had my husband compare between the baked and the fried, he couldn't tell a difference at all.

Enjoy these golden browned little beauties for dinner or as a party finger food!

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