A Stuffed Tortilla Lunch (my way)
May 15, 2016
There is nothing very Mexican about this idea. It is definitely not authentic. But it is a delicious use of tortillas. The finished product (see above) vaguely resembles flautas, though the only similarity is that mine are flute-shaped and fried.
In the fridge: cooked quinoa, tortillas, some chipotle sauce, a very good onion gratin I had made the day before. Plus some other stuff.
So here is how it happened: I mixed together cooked quinoa*, a bit of triple-cream cheese left from last week's dinner party, a glug of chipotle sauce**, and a big spoonful of the onion gratin*** (which consisted of slow-cooked sliced onions put into a gratin dish and topped with cream, egg yolk, and Parmesan cheese, then baked). Having mixed all this together, I quickly warmed the tortillas—a few seconds on each side—in a preheated dry skillet to make them flexible (the warming keeps them from tearing when you roll them).
Putting a softened tortilla flat on the cutting board I spooned about a quarter cup of the filling onto the bottom edge and laid a couple of batons of havarti across it, then rolled the tortilla closed around the filling. You could fasten it with a toothpick (I did that the first time I made them, but the next time I didn't bother). You can tell from the photo that I tend to overfill; my guys are fatter than the ideal.
I heated a couple of tablespoons of olive oil**** in the already warm skillet and put in the tortillas, seam side down (this seals them shut—which is why no toothpick is needed). While the tortillas cooked I put some yogurt***** on my plate, sliced an avocado, and washed a few leaves of early lettuce (not shown in the photo). I turned the tortillas every few minutes so that all sides were crisped.
When they were toasty and brown all around, I put them on the plate and ate them with my fingers, dipping the end into the yogurt and cutting bits of avocado to eat along with each bite.
As it happened I had made too much filling, so I filled and fried more tortillas the next morning for breakfast. And then, since I still had onion gratin left as well as cooked quinoa, I mixed up yet another batch of filling for that day's lunch. To be honest, I lost track of the number of times I indulged in this delicious and relatively healthy not-very-Mexican tortilla dish. But I never got tired of it.
Other ways to use this idea: add chopped jalapeno instead of chipotle sauce (but that'll be a bit more work). Mix some of the chipotle sauce into the yogurt. Use leftover whatever instead of my onion gratin, since I doubt that it's in everyone's refrigerator. Use more and different cheese (Cheddar, feta, Swiss). Add chopped tomato (fresh, dried, or canned) or red bell pepper (fresh or roasted). Add chopped cilantro. Scramble an egg with the quinoa and use that as the filling. And see my asterisked notes below.
No matter how you end up making it, it's perfect for breakfast or lunch: tortilla stuffed with a grain filling jazzed up with Mexican flavours. Serving an avocado on the side is a luxury, but if you have a ripe one sitting around, slice it up.
*If you've been following my blog for a while or have read Fast & Fearless Cooking for the Genius then you'll recognize the theme: Keeping a batch of cooked mixed grains in the refrigerator leads to quick meals. In this particular case my stash was a combination of regular and red quinoa, but my usual combination involves three or four grains chosen from wild rice, brown rice, millet, quinoa, spelt or wheat berries, oat groats, and amaranth.
**This was a bottled commercial chipotle condiment that my husband brought home. Ordinarily I would use canned chipotles in adobo sauce. Rather than mincing the chipotles every time I need some heat, I puree the contents of the can in the food processor and refrigerate the puree in a little glass jar; it lasts for months.
***I don't expect everyone to have an onion gratin on hand. Some finely chopped onion would be good instead.
****Lard would be the ideal fat here. A main difference between my version and an actual flauta is that my rolled tortillas are sauteed in just a very little fat--enough to film the bottom of the skillet. I delude myself that this is healthier. Maybe it is, a bit.
*****If you're ambitious you could drain the yogurt to thicken it (think: Greek yogurt) and you could also season it with chipotle sauce or Sriracha. I found that its mild coolness (unspiced) was a good contrast to the spicy filling.