Sopes and Salsa

My neighbor and first-quarter Greener Maria dropped by for some help with her first self-evaluation (a hellish but useful particularity of Evergreen), and we used that as an excuse to cook together. I am not particularly versed in making Mexican food, though I love to eat it. When Maria asked me whether I liked burritos, tacos, and sopes, I answered, “What are sopes?” Thus our meal was decided.

Sopes and Salsa

Salsa 2 roma tomatoes 3 jalapeños 1 handfull dried red peppers 2 cloves garlic 1/2 cup water salt to taste (Just to warn you, this makes a seriously spicy salsa. I had to use it sparingly. I haven’t tried this yet, but I have a feeling that if you bumped the tomatoes up to 4, and decreased the number of red peppers, it would be much more mellow.)Add all ingredients except garlic to a small sauce pan and bring to a boil. Once boiling, lower heat and simmer for about 20 minutes.

Put all ingredients into blender with about another 1/4-1/2 cup water (depending on the consistency you’re looking for – remember, the tomatoes will be pretty moisture-rich), including garlic. Blend the life out of it. Salt and pepper to taste. Sopes 1 1/2 cups Masa (we used Maseca brand, which is available at Safeway) 1/2 cup unbleached white flour water 1-1 1/2 cup oil 1/2 cup finely chopped onions cotija cheese beans (we used pintos, but black beans would be awesome :o) lettuce Add water 1/4 cup at a time to the cornmeal and flour blend, kneading in. Continue until it achieves a moist-doughy consistency. It should make funny noises when you knead it. Add a bit of salt and pepper, and knead until incorporated. Take small handfuls of dough and roll into a ball. Continue until all dough balled. Maria rolling the dough balls – super expert! Take a ball and smoosh it into a pancake shape, then place in tortilla press and smoosh it until thin. (If you don’t have a tortilla press, you can use a plate to smoosh, or just fully smoosh it by hand.)  Heat an iron skillet to medium heat, and cook the tortillas until they start turning a darker yellow around the edges. Flip, and cook until just done – don’t let them go too long, because they need to be somewhat malleable for the next step. Remove from heat and let cool. Fill flat-bottomed pan with about 1/2 inch oil and start heating on medium/medium-high. Once cooled to a handleable temperature, take each tortilla and create a lip around the edge by pinching the rim between your thumb and pointer fingers. Beware of pinching too hard, because you can punch through the tortilla. Fry in the oil until a nice medium-golden tone, and let drain on paper towels (or better yet, on a rack placed above paper towels – keeps the fried items from wallowing in the oil and becoming soggy).
From here, the sopes become largely a matter of taste. Traditional toppings are finely chopped onions at the base, beans, cotija cheese, lettuce and salsa.
Maria slicing the lettuce really thin. I do love to learn how to do things better 🙂 Quite the amazing combination. I did try slicing some leftover chicken breast onto mine, and it was rather delightful.
Maria enjoying the fruits of her labors. Awesome food!

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