It was the last night of our vacation in St Thomas. We had decided to sit at the bar of our favorite restaurant, have drinks and order a few small plates to share for dinner. We had tried most gluten free items on the menu already and ordered our favorites but this time decided to include the tacos de filet. We hadn’t tried that one yet, for no reason other than seafood was our main focus most of the trip. As we sat there waiting for our meal, I looked at Jon and said, “The food was really great on this trip but I never had that I-want-to-eat-this-everyday-for-the-rest-of-my-life moment.”
And then it happened…it was as if the chef heard me. Out came four mini tacos on a white platter. Strips of filet topped with shredded manchego cheese and fresh cilantro, wrapped in a perfect house-made cilantro corn tortilla. And that, my friends, was the I-want-to-eat-this-everyday-for-the-rest-of-my-life moment I had been waiting for.
J: Why didn’t we order these the first night?
Me: I don’t know! Why didn’t anyone tell us to order these? When something is this good it should have a star next to it or something.
J: I think it’s the tortilla.
Me: It’s totally the tortilla.
I don’t want to dismiss the filet. It was perfectly seasoned and cooked, but lucky for me, my husband makes the best filet I’ve ever had. I’m not just saying that because I have to live with him. He’s converted vegetarians. True story. This filet was fantastic but it wasn’t what was making this dish. It was the fresh, warm, doughy corn tortillas. I’ve never been a fan of corn tortillas. I’ve tried many different brands and each time I find them really disappointing. They’re chalky, dry and flavorless. But these, these were the opposite of all of that. They were soft, moist but not greasy, and full of fresh, cilantro flavor. They were incredible, and I knew that I’d soon be home in my kitchen covered in masa trying to recreate these things. I think I did it. I think I totally did it.
This is where I tell you that they’re sooooo easy. Don’t you hate when people say that and it’s not true? Like, “Hey, I love the mural you painted on the nursery wall.” And they say “Oh, thanks. It was so easy. Like the easiest thing I’ve ever done.” So you ask how they did it and they tell you they rented an overhead projector, projected the image, stenciled it onto the wall, then painted it color-by-color. No. That is not easy. That is insanely hard and a lot of work. You are lying. I’m not doing that here. I promise, they’re easy. I actually timed myself. The dough came together in 4 minutes. I was done cooking all of the tortillas after 10 more minutes. And now I will make them again and beat that time, because that is totally how I function.
So thank you, Havana Blue, for showing me that I can love a corn tortilla. Thank you for inspiring me to try something new in the kitchen. Thank you for giving me that I-want-to-eat-this-everyday-for-the-rest-of-my-life moment. Oh, and thank you Jon, for making me a filet tonight. You don’t know it yet, but thank you.
Cilantro Corn Tortillas
1 cup masa harina
3/4 cup water, plus more as needed
1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 cup chopped, fresh cilantro
Posted on January 24, 2013