Did You Know?
Soft, chewy tortillas are the second most popular bread in the U.S.
Round up your family and serve them a flat-out winner: easy and delicious tortilla dishes. Whether you use this unleavened Mexican bread as the meal's foundation (such as for tacos) or as a substitute for traditional ingredients (for example, posing as noodles in soup), tortillas make a great low-fat complement to lean proteins, such as poultry, fish, and beans. They're also economical; a package of tortillas, enough for any of our recipes, costs about a dollar.
When the Spanish arrived in Aztec Mexico, they called the round native corn bread tortillas, or "little cakes." There are two basic kinds of tortillas, corn and flour; we used both. Corn tortillas are generally made smaller and thicker than flour tortillas so they won't fall apart (they don't contain gluten, the stretchy protein in flour that helps hold the tortillas together); look for the standard six-inch size. Flour tortillas come in a range of sizes; our recipes call for six- and ten-inch varieties.When shopping, check tortillas for mold. If tightly sealed, they'll keep at room temperature for five days or in the refrigerator for two weeks.
Tortillas have traveled to the ends of the earth and beyond. In fact, they're even served in space. Since 1985, flour tortillas, made from a special NASA recipe and packaged in vacuum-sealed foil pouches, have been a favorite on missions because they're easy to eat and don't create big, floating crumbs.