On Your Mark, Get Set: Tortilla Adventure
by Sarah A. Maine
When I first saw Brianna’s pizza recipe I wasn’t sure how I would interpret it into something new. I loved the way she made pesto into the base of the topping – a refreshing change from the usual tomato sauce – however, neither the pesto or the veggie toppings were calling out to me to be reworked.
So, I started thinking about the crust instead, which lead me to think about other types of flat bread. Thoughts of alternative flours and grains began rolling around in my head – some kind of flat bread with a filling folded into it… calzones, or lahmacun, or maybe… tacos!
The Spring 2010 issue of Edible Queens featured an article about a tortilleria in Corona Queens, Tortilleria Nixtamal, where they make authentic Mexican tortillas from 100% ground corn. Ever since I read the article I had been wanting to try it out. It’s off the beaten path but only a 20 minute trip by subway and foot from my neighborhood, so I invited a friend to join me on an afternoon tortilla adventure.
A seating area (red picnic tables!) takes up most of the modest storefront, and special pride of place is given to the tortilla making machine which runs daily from 9:30 – 12:00, rolling out delicate delicious discs. Nixtamal uses non-GMO white corn from the Rovey Seed Company in Illinois, which it cooks and grinds into masa on site. I am not a Mexican food connoisseur but when something tastes good I know it – and these tortilla’s tasted good! We ordered three different taco dishes off the menu and were only stopped from ordering more by our full stomachs (although somehow we managed to find room for tres leches cake!). I bought a half pound of tortillas to take home and began thinking about my filling right away.
What will my dish look like? I am not entirely sure, my current plan is to make an array of filling elements to be assembled at the table, allowing everyone to customize their tacos exactly the way they want them. I’m also going to bring meat back into the relay this week, check back on Thursday for taco-lisciousness!!