The other night was taco night at our house. We try to keep some leftover meats (smoked pork, lamb biria, turkey confit, Spanish chorizo, etc) in the freezer that can be adapted on short notice to make tacos, stretch a pasta or bean dish, maybe top a hearty salad, enrich a soup or other such uses of a little meat to make an otherwise slim meal into something a bit richer, more interesting or just different.
Once I had the meat picked out I wanted to make the tortillas a bit more interesting than right out of the package. I like the puffy, slightly crispy shells like the ones Taco Bell serves with their Chalupas but you can’t buy them ready to go like you can buy the crispy corn shells. So I figured that if Taco Bell could figure out how to make a wheat tortilla crispy how hard could it be. I ended up shallow frying them in 1/4″ of oil, a half of the shell at a time. I folded the raw shell in half and, using tongs, held one half in the hot oil until it was somewhat puffy and crispy – maybe 30 seconds – then turned the shell over and fried the other half, again using the tongs to hold the tortilla in the familiar shell form. Drain on a rack or paper toweling to cool and fill with your favorite meat and accompaniments. Yum, yum.
Our tortillas were filled with shredded smoked pork shoulder, red onion, cilantro and a wedge of lime. The remainder of the plate that night had frijoles refritos, and a light salad of shredded lettuce, tomato and avocado with a sour cream/milk/lime juice dressing. Those are braised mushrooms on the side.