If you've ever had a homemade tortilla, fresh off the pan when it's still warm, soft, bubbly and slightly charred, you'll know that store bought doesn't compare.
I made them for the first time recently (and then again and again) and was surprised at how easy they are to prepare. There are a few tricks to it though. The dough needs to rest a bit before you roll them out. Your pan (a cast iron pan or flat-top grill is best, but you can use any pan) needs to be the right temperature. Too hot and your tortillas will burn quickly. If they take longer than a minute to start bubbling and blistering, it's too low, and the tortilla will be tough. So preheat your (dry) pan to medium and adjust after the first tortilla.
Usually, tortillas are made with lard, shortening or butter — solidified fats — but since I wanted to use avocado oil (you can use olive oil) to make these vegan, I put the oil in the freezer until it solidified into a gelatin-like consistency. A solidified fat works better than a liquid one because it's easier to cut it into the flour and get it all crumbly. With a liquid fat it's easy to get oily spots in your dough.
I layered these with a combination of everyday ingredients that went so well together it felt magical. Even the recipe is easy to remember: avocado, apples, arugula (3 A's) and some sliced tomatoes, topped with a pinch of alfalfa sprouts. I smeared mine with a little organic mayonnaise before eating this, but that's a personal preference.
Ingredients for the Tortillas (makes about 7 seven-inch tortillas)
- 1 1/2 cups unbleached white organic flour
- 1/4 cup avocado oil (or olive oil) — solidified
- 1/2 tsp. baking powder
- 1/2 cup hot tap water (I ended up using a bit less)
- 1/2 tsp. sea salt
- 1 or 2 Tbsp. finely chopped fresh Italian parsley (flowers only) — optional
Ingredients for the Topping (for one tortilla)
- 3 or 4 thin slices of avocado
- 2 or 3 thin slices of apple — cut in half
- 1 or 2 slices of tomato — cut in half
- Handful of fresh baby arugula
- Season with a pinch of sea salt
- Garnished with sprouts
Add all the dry ingredients to a bowl and mix. Add the chopped parsley if you like.
Dot the flour with the solidified oil and mix with your hands until the flour is crumbly.
Add the water slowly, mixing the flour in (with your hands) until the flour comes together to form dough. You may not need all of the water
Place the dough on a lightly floured board and knead until smooth.
Let the dough rest back in the bowl (covered with a tea towel) for at least 15 minutes or so. This will make the dough more elastic and easier to roll.
Roll the dough into a thick log and cut into 7 equal pieces.
Flatten each piece into a disk with your hands on the lightly floured board. Then, with a rolling pin (add a dusting of flour if a bit sticky), roll as thin as you can (about 7 or 8 inches wide)
In the meantime heat your skillet over medium heat for about 5 minutes. You can also use a nonstick pan if you don't have cast iron. The pan should be dry.
Add the tortilla and cook on one side until it begins to blister and the underside is golden and lightly charred (about a minute); flip and cook for about 30 seconds or so.
Store in a dish covered with a tea towel to keep warm while you cook the others. Once they cool they'll get hard quickly, but once you reheat them in the microwave for a few seconds, or in the oven, they return to being soft.
To Fill: spread with mayo (or other spread) if you like, top with the arugula, apples, avocado and tomato. Season and top with the sprouts.