Full disclosure: I love food. Not as much as my family, but maybe as much as my close friends. To me, each meal provides a new window of opportunity to partake in a creative and indulgent pass time.
Yes, I believe the main function of food is to nourish our bodies (which is why I try hard to eat mostly real food), but that doesn’t mean that food needs to be boring! The more colorful and natural the ingredients you bring to the dish are, the more vibrant and flavorful it is!
Case in point: Bruschetta. It’s a harmonious combination of a fresh baguette, topped with olive oil, fresh garlic cloves, tomatoes, basil and mozzarella. And if you happen to have a drizzle of balsamic vinegar on top, oooh man. I might be able to live on a diet of bruschetta alone, and live a fulfilling life. Okay, bruschetta and an occasional glass of wine.
My mom, whom I credit with at least half of my intelligence and love for food, had a brilliant idea a couple weeks ago. Imagine taking the concept of bruschetta (bread with toppings), but making them into tapas.
What are tapas? It is a Spanish appetizer or snack. My mom was able to visit Spain many years ago, and spoke fondly of the fresh tapas she had while she was there. As the idea evolved, I think it was my mom who suggested the use of masa harina four (corn flour) as the base, to essentially make little corn tortillas or chips, depending on the preparation. (Quick side note: the use of masa harina makes this a gluten-free snack!)
Then we brainstormed on the various and infinite toppings that we could put onto the masa base (read: we looked at what we had in the fridge that needed to be used up), and we set to work.
Masa Harina Tapas
(Makes 20 tapas)
- Masa Harina Flour
- 4 tbsp oil
To prepare the masa harina base, prepare 2 cups of the flour, according to the package direction. Grab a piece of plastic wrap or press ‘n seal, and lay it on a flat surface. Grab 1.5 tbsp of masa mix, roll it into a ball, and place it on the plastic wrap, about 2″ from the edge. Fold the remaining plastic wrap onto the masa, leaving 2″ on each side. Your objective here is to have plastic on top and beneath the masa.
You can use a rolling pin, sturdy glass, or your hand to flatten out the masa ball, to about 1/4″ thickness. You can use a circular cookie cutter (or any shape, for that matter) to cut out the masa base. You want it to be about 1 – 2″ in diameter, or about the size of two bites. Once formed, place onto a cookie sheet or plate, and cover with a clean towel until ready to cook.
Heat oil in a saute pan over medium heat. Once warm, lightly fry masa base, until golden brown on both sides. Remove from heat and lay on a paper-towel lined plate.
It sounds a little complicated, but it really only takes around 10 – 15 minutes to prepare the masa base.
Oooh, the possibilities! Here is what we tried:
- A base of enchilada sauce, topped with cooked ground turkey, shredded cheese and lettuce.
- Roasted cherry tomatoes topped with cooked and crumbled bacon, and pineapple slivers.
- Roasted red peppers topped with thinly sliced jalapenos and red pepper flakes.
- Diced green chile topped with cooked ground turkey (or pork), and crumbled queso fresco.
You can literally look in your fridge, see what veggies/meats/cheeses/herbs need to be used up, and create your own masa harina tapas. This is a quick and inexpensive way to re-purpose your leftovers!