Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Homemade Tortilla Chips

Seriously... these tortilla chips are so incredibly easy, you'll wonder why you haven't made your own before.  These crunchy little morsels come straight from your home deep fryer/dutch oven, get seasoned to taste, and go straight to your table (or in this case, our wide window sill where our friends hang out and watch the sun set over Lake Champlain) while they're still warm.  I guess that technically, real homemade tortilla chips would start with homemade tortillas - but I cheated just a little and used store-bought 6" corn tortillas.

There are quite a few advantages to making your own chips (of the tortilla variety, but also potato, pita, etc... but those are other posts), such as the ability to control or eliminate salt content, add your own favorite flavorings, determine the optimal doneness, and so forth.  For this batch, I cooked the chips until they were just barely turning golden, which produced a nice crunch without allowing the chip to disintegrate after the first bite.  Simply seasoned with salt and the tiniest bit of pepper, they were delicious enough to eat on their own.  I bought our standard brand of tortillas (Olé - I'm pretty sure they are a national brand, but are a good go-to supermarket brand... plus I'm in Vermont so choices are limited), the layers of which separate slightly in the fryer and create an ethereal, delicate feel while supporting dips like salsa and guacamole.

So kick back, enjoy the end of the summer, and try out this simple recipe.

Tortilla Chips
Click here for printable recipe

12 6-inch corn tortillas, cut into quarters
Oil for frying (I use canola; amount varies depending on your frying vessel)
Optional seasonings, mix & match to your taste: Freshly ground black pepper, chipotle powder, granulated garlic, smoked paprika, or whatever your heart desires

Heat oil to 375º.  Once oil is heated, sprinkle in a handful of tortilla quarters at a time, being sure to separate the tortilla wedges from one another before dropping them in.  Fry 1 1/2 to 2 minutes, or until chips reach desired doneness (light golden brown is delicious), stirring as needed to prevent chips from sticking together.  Using a wire spider or your fryer basket, remove chips and transfer to a paper towel lined cooling rack or plate to let any excess oil drip off.  Immediately season with salt and/or any other seasonings to taste.  Serve while warm and enjoy plain or with your favorite dip.

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