Saturday, September 29, 2012

Sonoran Style Cheese Crisps

melted and ready to cut and serve
When we were little, we traveled across country a lot. All of us kids, friends, babysitters, animals, snakes, lizards, I kid you not, all piled into a station wagon. We visited Tucson on a few occasions and stayed with Jack and Jane Chilcott and their kids. They took us to an amazing place (actually, a few amazing places) called Karichimakas, a Mexican restaurant out near Mission San Xavier. They introduced us to gigantic cheese crisps, not soft, cheesy quesadillas, but flat, cracker crisp, cheesy topped flour tortillas, topped with tiny morsels--scallions, olives, shreds of carne seca, peppers. Served as appetizers, they sat on metal pizza stands above the surface of the tables and we could eat as many pieces as we wanted. I lived in Tucson with my Rock Family for many years, and I fell in love with these all over again. They are so simple and allow you to dress them up with very small amounts of ingredients, all cut into a very small, fine dice and lightly covering the cheesy top.

The following is more of a method than a hard and fast recipe.
 

crisped and ready for toppings

lightly cover with finely grated
cheese and tidbits of your choice
Set the oven to about 400 degrees F. Place as many flour tortillas as you want to crisp up in a single layer on cookie or pizza pans. Place in the oven and bake until they get lightly crisped and start to hold their shape when picked up. I usually turn them over once part way through to crisp both sides. Watch them, once the moisture leaves the tortilla they can get too brown very quickly.

Sprinkle with enough cheese to lightly cover the surface of the tortilla, and add whatever small bits of toppings you want. I like finely diced tomatoes (seeded), scallions, and when you can get it, carne seca. Sprinkle with little trails of hot sauce, green or red, or both. I like a more bitter green tomatillo salsa on mine. This is also a good time to use cholulu or tapatio style bottled hot sauces. Do not overload, you don't want them weighted down.

Return to the oven and bake until the cheese is melted and a little bubbly. Remove and cut with a pizza cutter. They should be flakey but not brittle. These would be good with lightly dressed, bitter greens spread over the top the way people like to eat pizza these days, but they are pretty close to perfect like this already.


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