Monday, April 30, 2012

Salsa and Cheese Sopes


I had heard of sopes before but hadn't tried them and weren't quite sure exactly what they were.  Now I know that they are little masa "boats" or cups that are pretty much made from corn tortilla dough and filled with any kind of Mexican filling you'd like.  I made these on a whim and hadn't done any sope googling, I did that after I made these, just to see if mine looked like what they are supposed to look like, well, after looking at the google image sopes page I've come to the conclusion that I did some major skimping on the filling! These are supposed to be stuffed to the brim with yummy fillings and I barely put anything in them...oh-well! They were still delicious and now that I know better I will make a very well stuffed sope next time I make them :)

Perfectly Simple Sopes (Masa Boats)
Sopes Sencillos
adapted from Rick Bayless's Mexico One Plate at a Time

1 and 3/4 cups powdered masa harina mixed with 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons warm water
Salt
About 1/2 cup chopped white onion (I left this off, not an onion fan)
Vegetable oil for the griddle
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
about 3/4 cup salsa (I used Rick's Roasted Tomato and Jalapeno Salsa, recipe below)

about 1/3 cup grated Mexican gueso anejo or other dry grating cheese such as romano or parmesan (I used Cotija, a Mexican grating cheese that I had never tried before this, it is delicious!) About 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro

1. Forming and griddle-baking the sopes. Heat a well seasoned or nonstick griddle or heavy skillet over medium heat. Put the masa (fresh or reconstituted) into a bowl and knead in 3/4 teaspoon salt. If necessary, knead in a few drops of water to give the masa the consistency of soft cookie dough. Divide into 16 pieces, roll into balls and cover with plastic to keep them from drying out.


One by one, form the fat little tortillas that will become the sopes: Line a tortilla press with two pieces of plastic cut to fit the plates (to be on the safe side, cut them from a food storage bag; the thicker plastic usually works better for beginners). Gently press out a flattened ball of dough between the sheets of plastic to about 3 and 1/2 inches in diameter (it should be a little less than 1/4 inch thick). Peel off the top sheet of plastic, flip the fat little tortilla - uncovered side down - onto the fingers of one hand and then gently peel off the second piece of plastic. In one flowing movement, roll the tortilla off your hand and onto the heated griddle or skillet. After about 1 and 1/2 minutes, when the tortilla has loosened itself from the cooking surface and is lightly browned, flip it and cook for another minute or so - this cooking is just to set and brown the surface of the tortilla but not to cook the masa all the way through. While the first tortilla is cooking, continue pressing out others and adding them to the griddle or skillet; just be careful not to leave them on so long that they cook through.


Remove each lightly browned tortilla to a plate. Cool just until handleable, then use your thumb and index finger to pinch up a masa border about 1/2 inch high around then edge of the tortilla - in doing this you are transforming the fat little tortilla into a sope, a little masa boat. Press out the center to uniformly flatten it. Cool the sopes, then cover them with plastic to keep them from drying out. 


2. Finishing the sopes. In a strainer, rinse the onion under cold water, then shake off the excess moisture. Set out the remaining ingredients near the griddle. Heavily oil the skillet or griddle (my 12 inch griddle takes about 1/4 cup to oil it properly) and heat over medium. Fill the griddle with a single uncrowded layers of sopes, flat side down, then brush each one with oil. Spoon about 1/2 tablespoon salsa into each sope, then sprinkle with a little chopped onion, grated cheese and chopped cilantro. Leave on the heat until the bottoms of the sopes begin to crisp and the salsa is warm, 1 to 1 and 1/2 minutes . (You may see the salsa boiling around the edges.) Serve on a warm plate or a wooden board without a moment's hesitation - your guests will love biting into this simple perfection. 



~~~~~

These were really delicious! I'm sure I'll be making sopes often and filling them to the brim with yummy cheese and maybe beans and salsa.  I made half of these with just cheese for the kids since the salsa was quite spicy.  The other plate I made I brought out to the living room for my husband and I to snack on and went back to the kitchen to pass out some to the kids, well by the time I got back picky husband had finished off the whole plate of these!  At first he was a little apprehensive since he doesn't like to try new things but he really liked these.  He is a corn tortilla fan and these had that nice toasty corn scent and flavor so I kind of thought these would be a big hit and they were :)

Here is the recipe for the salsa I made to go with these...

Roasted Jalapeno Tomato Salsa with Cilantro
Rick Bayless - Salsas that Cook
5 cups salsa

3 pounds ripe tomatoes
4-6 jalapeno chiles, stemmed
1 small white onion, sliced 1/4 inch thick
8 garlic cloves, peeled
1/2 cup water (I did not add this, the salsa was plenty fluid without extra water)
2/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro
2 generous teaspoons salt
1 tablespoon cider vinegar


1. Heat the broiler. Lay the whole tomatoes and jalapenos out on a broiler pan or baking sheet. Set the pan 4 inches below the broiler and broil for about 6 minutes, until darkly roasted - even blackened in spots - on one side.  With a pair of tongs, flip over the tomatoes and chiles and roast the other side for another 6 minutes or so. The goal is not simply to char the tomatoes and chiles but the cook them through while developing nice roasty flavors. Set aside to cool.



2. Turn the oven down to 425 degrees. Separate the onions into rings. On a similar pan or baking sheet, combine the onion and garlic. Roast in the oven, stirring carefully every couple of minutes, until the onions are beautifully browned and wilted (even have a touch of char on some of the edges) and the garlic is soft and browned in spots, about 15 minutes total. Cool to room temperature.


3. In a food processor, pulse the jalapenos (no need to peel or seed them) with the onion and garlic until moderately finely chopped, scraping everything down with a spatula as needed to keep it all moving around. Scoop into a big bowl. Without washing the processor, coarsely puree the tomatoes - with all the juice that has accumulated around them - and add them to the bowl. Stir in enough water to give the salsa an easily spoonable consistency. Stir in the cilantro.  I just processed it all together.


4. Taste and season with salt and vinegar, remembering that this condiment should be a little feisty in its seasoning. If you're planning to use your salsa right away, simply pour into a bowl and it's ready, or refrigerate it covered and use within 5 days.  



~~~~~

The salsa was pretty yummy and very spicy. Picky husband liked it, yay! It was too spicy for the kids.  My only personal thing was not liking the onion, but I know most people like onions so that's my problem :) I think from now on I will leave the onion out unless it gets completely pureed or just use onion powder.  The sopes were awesome and I'm so glad I now know what they are and will be making them often. They were fun to make and were my first time using my new cast iron tortilla press, I've wanted one of those for years and finally got one since IHCC will be cooking Mexican for the next few months! Yum!


10 comments:

Natashya KitchenPuppies said...

Wow - they are so cute! Glad the whole family liked them. I am with you - I don't necessarily know what the Mexicans dishes are supposed to look like beyond burritos and tacos, etc. I thought it was just because I was Canadian. It's nice to know I'm not alone!

Karen said...

I love freshly cooked masa - like you said, it has such tremendous corn flavor. I'd love to make these and fill them up with beans :)

Deb in Hawaii said...

I saw sopes on the Food Channel a while back but have never made or tried them myself. So cute. ;-)

Mistakes On Purpose said...

Love the blog. Added you to my list!
Keep on Cookin.

MM said...

I agree--so cute! I know I would love these.

Leslie Limon said...

I like the way you served your sopes! I think it lets you really appreciate the flavor of the masa. :) Very cute.

simple baking said...

These are so cute. Would love to try them with some of tomato serrano sauce :D

Heather @girlichef.com said...

Mmmm...I adore sopes. I like your simple topping. That's what's so great about them - you can make them often and change up the toppings for a new meal each time. My favorite toppings for sopes (just in case you want to try sometime, it's a tasty combo) is a layer of refried beans on the bottom...covered with some cooked and crumbled chorizo...topped with some shredded lettuce or green cabbage soaked with water, lime, and salt...crema...queso fresco...cilantro...salsa. Filled to the brim but OH SO GOOD!! =)

Kim said...

Sopes are on my list of things to try during our six months with Rick. They just seem like something everyone would like. Yours look really cheesy and delicious.

Jamie said...

What a great little appetizer!!

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