Every once in a while a photo makes no justice to the dish. Case in point: tlayuda. But this recipe turned out soooo delicious that I must share right now, I don’t want to wait until I make it again. It is tastier than you would imagine from its simple ingredients put together. Very quick to prepare, perfect to make a weeknight feel special… The recipe was recently featured by Marcela Valladolid in her show Mexican Made Easy. It comes from the Oaxaca region in Mexico and her description of the place made me want to buy a ticket and fly there. Tlayudas are a typical street food, and everybody loves them. I can tell you, the combination of refried beans with the Oaxaca cheese, the lettuce and Mexican crema is spectacular! The chorizo adds a lot to it, but if you are vegetarian, simply omit it, the tlayuda can shine on its own without it. Avocados on the side (or sliced on top) would be amazing too…
(adapted from Marcela Valladolid)
1 tablespoons vegetable oil
5 ounces raw pork chorizo
One 16-ounce canned refried pinto beans
for tortilla base:
2 cups instant corn masa
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 + ¼ cup water
1 tablespoons vegetable oil
for final assembly:
1/2 cup Oaxaca cheese
Iceberg lettuce, shredded
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Crumbled queso fresco
For the chorizo and bean topping: In a large heavy saute pan, heat 1 tablespoons oil on medium-high heat. Add the chorizo and cook until crisp, about 6 minutes. Remove from the heat and reserve. Heat the beans on low heat or in a microwave until very hot and easy to spread. Reserve, keeping warm.
For the tortillas: Combine the corn masa, 1 cup of water and salt in a large mixing bowl. Mix thoroughly by hand to form a soft dough, about 2 minutes. If the dough feels dry, add more water (one tablespoon at a time). You may not need to use the full amount of water left.
Heat a 12-inch cast-iron or heavy skillet. Place a piece of parchment paper on a flat surface. Put half of the dough onto the parchment paper and place another piece of parchment paper on top. Using a rolling-pin, roll out the dough until it is 1/4-inch thick and 10 inches in diameter. Drizzle the oil into the hot skillet and place the rolled out masa dough into the skillet to cook for about 2 minutes. Turn over to cook on the other side.
Spread 1/2 cup of the warm refried beans onto the cooked side of dough. Add 1/4 cup Oaxaca cheese and 1/2 cup cooked chorizo. Continue to cook for until the cheese is melted, another 2 to 3 minutes. Remove the pizza from the pan onto a round serving platter. Top with the iceberg lettuce. Season with salt and pepper. Sprinkle with crumbled queso fresco and a drizzle of Mexican crema. Cut into wedges and serve immediately. Repeat with the remaining half of dough and toppings.
to print the recipe, click here
Comments: The recipe makes two 10-inch discs. I did not use the full amount of the dough, and instead made two 8-inch discs. They were perfect for our dinner, with a little slice leftover. If you make the full recipe, it could be a wonderful appetizer for a get-together, cutting each tlayuda in squares. That is exactly the suggestion for serving as published in the FoodTV website, by the way.
The only challenging part of making tlayuda is transferring the rolled out dough to the hot skillet. My first production reminded me of a book I was quite fond of growing up, Le Petit Prince, by Saint-Exupéry. Quite a popular book in Brazil at the time. Yes, that was more or less the shape of my first tlayuda.
Undeterred, I moved on to the second pizza, and managed to get a round enough shape to justify the name. Oh, well. Taste is more important than looks, and even the elephant-shaped concoction was devoured with gusto. Plus, cutting the odd-shaped tlayuda in 4 pieces is a nice way to exercise your brains. And knife skills.
The dough is of course quite similar to a tortilla, but thicker and absolutely perfect for a pizza-like base. I will definitely keep this recipe in mind to improvise with other types of toppings, including options traditionally associated with Italian pizza.
“Voici mon secret. Il est très simple: on ne voit bien qu’avec le cœur.
L’essentiel est invisible pour les yeux.”
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