Studio 3: Cooking with chef Nick Wallace
JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - Local chef Nick Wallace stopped by Studio 3 to cook us some delicious surf and turf tacos.
If you would like to make these tacos at home, you’re in luck! Chef Wallace provided his recipe to us, and now we are sharing it with you.
Surf and Turf Taco
- Maseca or Masa Harina is the most popular brand of Mexican masa harina. Or if you are looking for an organic masa marina, I would recommend Bobs Red Mill. It is typically available either in the Latin American section or the flour/baking section of your local grocery store.
- Hot water: The amount of hot water needed may vary slightly, depending on the brand of masa harina that you use.
- Salt. To bring out the delicious corn flavor in our corn tortillas. If you are using standard table salt, note that you will need to use slightly less.
The following equipment is also recommended:
- Griddle works great. You will need some sort of non-stick pan to cook the tortillas, so that they do not stick while cooking. I used a seasoned cast-iron skillet, which worked great.
- Tortilla Press. I’m always hesitant here to recommend single-use kitchen gadgets. But if you love homemade corn tortillas, a tortilla press is 100% worth the investment. It is super-simple to use and presses the tortillas quickly and evenly. That said, if you do not own a tortilla press, you can also just use a flat-bottomed skillet to press your tortillas between two sheets of plastic (my best alternate recommendation). Or you can use a rolling pin to roll the tortillas out between two sheets of plastic (not quite as easy).
- Tortilla Warmer is Optional. Also optional but quite handy for keeping your tortillas soft and warm. That said, if you do not own a tortilla warmer (I actually don’t), you can just store the cooked tortillas in a bowl wrapped in a clean kitchen towel.
- 2 Tablespoons Cookie Scoop. Pro tip!! A medium (2-tablespoon) cookie scoop is the perfect size to easily measure out the proper amount of dough to make standard (5-6 inch) tortillas. Highly recommend. That said, if you do not own a medium cook scoop, you can just use a spoon to eyeball (or weigh) the an approximately 2-tablespoon scoop of dough.
How to make corn tortillas:
- So here’s the thing about corn tortillas — they are quite easy to make, but it will take a bit of hands-on practice to learn how wet the dough should be, how to press the tortillas, and how quickly they will cook. So if this is your first time making corn tortillas, have a bit of patience with the process, and I promise that you will learn quickly as you go. And of course — the end result will be deliciously worth it! Here is the basic overview of the recipe instructions (full details in the recipe below):
- Mix the dough: First things first — mixing the dough! Pull out a big mixing bowl and briefly whisk the masa harina and salt together, then gradually stir in 1.5 cups of the hot water until an evenly-mixed dough begins to form. Use your hands to knead the dough for 2-3 minutes in the mixing bowl (or you can knead it on a floured surface) until it’s smooth and forms a cohesive ball. But pay close attention to the texture — it should feel springy and firm, similar to the texture of Play-Doh. If the dough feels too wet and is sticking to your hands, add in a few extra tablespoons of flour. If it feels too dry and crackly, add in an extra tablespoon or two of hot water.
- Rest the dough. Cover the bowl with the dough with a damp kitchen towel (or paper towel) and let it rest for about 10 minutes.
- Portion the dough. Then use a medium cookie scoop (my preference!) or a spoon to scoop a 2-tablespoon ball of dough (35-40 grams, or about the size of a golf ball), then use your hands to roll the ball until it is nice and round.
- Press the dough balls. Place the dough ball between two pieces of plastic in the center of a tortilla press. (I use a ziplock bag; see notes below.) Then gently press the dough ball until it forms a 4- to 5-inch flat tortilla. At this point, I recommend doing a quick texture-check of the tortilla. If it peels away easily from the plastic, it’s good to go! If it’s sticky and does not peel away, your dough is too wet, so I would recommend kneading a bit more flour into the batch of dough before scooping out more dough balls.
- Cook the tortilla. When your tortilla is ready to go, heat a non-stick skillet or comal over medium-high heat. Once the pan is nice and hot, gently peel the tortilla away from the plastic wrap and lay the tortilla flat in the skillet. Cook the tortilla for about 40-60 seconds per side, flipping it once speckled brown spots begin to appear on the bottom of the tortilla. The tortillas will likely bubble up while cooking, especially on the second side, which is a good sign! Once it is cooked, transfer the tortilla to a tortilla warmer or a bowl wrapped in a clean kitchen towel, so that the tortillas do not dry out.
- Repeat with the remaining tortillas. I recommend keeping the cycle going by cooking one tortilla while pressing the next dough ball at the same time. If you notice that the skillet begins to seem too hot as time goes on, just turn down the heat a bit.
- Serve. The tortillas will continue to soften a bit more as they sit in a stack in your tortilla warmer (or wrapped in a towel). So I recommend using the tortillas at the bottom of the stack first — they will be the softest. Serve however you would like and enjoy! :)
- Are corn tortillas gluten-free and vegan? Yes, this homemade corn tortilla recipe is gluten-free and vegan. But store-bought corn tortillas occasionally include gluten and/or lard, so be sure to always double-check the label.
- How to make white, yellow or blue corn tortillas? Just purchase your desired color of masa harina.
- How to reheat corn tortillas? Definitely do not microwave leftover corn tortillas (they will dry out and likely crack when folded) or try to reheat them in oil (they will get crispy). To reheat corn tortillas, either heat a non-stick skillet over medium-high heat, and then cook each tortilla for 15-30 seconds per side until warmed through. Or, if you have a gas burner, you can very carefully use tongs to place the tortillas one at a time directly over the flame. Then as soon as a tortilla start to brown, flip and cook it on the second side until browned, then remove from heat. (Keep an extremely close eye on the tortillas if cooking over a gas stove so that they do not burn.) It’s important to always reheat corn tortillas one at a time, and immediately transfer them to a tortilla warmer or wrap in a clean kitchen towel to store until ready to serve.
- How to store corn tortillas? I recommend wrapping leftover corn tortillas in plastic wrap, beeswrap, or storing them in a ziplock bag (with the excess air pressed out) in the refrigerator for up to 2-3 days. You want to avoid letting the tortillas dry out, so try to minimize excess air being trapped into whichever storage option you choose.
- How many carbs in a corn tortilla? If you make 15 tortillas with this recipe, each corn tortilla will have approximately 12.5 grams of carbohydrates.
- Corn vs flour tortillas — when to use each? Up to you! Flour tortillas are sturdier, and thus are traditionally used for burritos, fajitas, quesadillas, Tex-Mex tacos, Tex-Mex enchiladas, etc. Corn tortillas are traditionally used for Mexican tacos, Mexican enchiladas, flautas, chilaquiles, taquitos, corn tortilla chips, etc. But that said, nowadays many people use corn and flour tortillas interchangeably, so feel free to use them however you prefer.
- 2 cups Masa
- 1 1/2 to 2 cups hot water
- 1 teaspoon salt
- Mix the dough: In a large mixing bowl, briefly whisk together masa harina and salt. Gradually add 1 1/2 cups hot water, and stir the mixture with a wooden spoon or silicone spatula until an evenly-mixed dough begins to form. Use your hands to knead the dough for 2-3 minutes in the mixing bowl until it is smooth and forms a cohesive ball. The dough’s texture should feel springy and firm, similar to Play-Doh. If the dough feels too wet and is sticking to your hands, add in a few extra tablespoons of flour. If it feels too dry and crackly, add in an extra tablespoon or two of hot water.
- Rest the dough. Cover the bowl with a damp kitchen towel (or paper towel) and let the dough rest for 10 minutes.
- Portion the dough. Use a spoon or a medium ice cream scoop to portion the dough into a 2-tablespoon ball (35-40 grams, or about the size of a golf ball), then use your hands to roll the ball until it is nice and round.
- Press the dough balls. Place the dough ball between two pieces of plastic in a tortilla press. (I use a ziplock bag; see notes below.) Then gently press the dough ball until it forms a 4- to 5-inch tortilla.
- Cook the tortilla. Heat a non-stick skillet or comal over medium-high heat. Once the pan is nice and hot, gently peel the tortilla away from the plastic wrap and lay the tortilla flat in the skillet. Cook the tortilla for about 40-60 seconds per side, flipping it once speckled brown spots begin to appear on the bottom of the tortilla. The tortillas will likely bubble up while cooking, especially on the second side, which is a good sign! Once it is cooked, transfer the tortilla to a tortilla warmer or a bowl wrapped in a clean kitchen towel, so that the tortillas do not dry out.
- Repeat with the remaining tortillas. I recommend keeping the cycle going by cooking one tortilla while pressing the next dough ball at the same time. If you notice that the skillet begins to seem too hot, just turn down the heat a bit.
- Serve. The tortillas will continue to soften a bit more as they sit in a stack in your tortilla warmer (or wrapped in a towel). So I recommend using the tortillas at the bottom of the stack first — they will be the softest. Serve however you would like and enjoy! See storage instructions below.
- 1 lb. Peeled, Tail Off Shrimp
- 2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
- 2 Tablespoons of your favorite seasoning
- Heat up a medium skillet on the stove for about 30 seconds. Then add olive oil, shrimp and then seasoning. Keep the shrimp moving in the skillet until all the shrimp are pink. Turn off after about 2-3 minutes of cooking and let reserve until ready to assemble tacos.
- 1/2 lb. Diced ribeye steak or Ny strip steak
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 tablespoons of your favorite seasoning
- Heat up a medium skillet on the stove for about 30-40 seconds. Then add olive oil, steak and then seasoning. Keep the steak moving in the skillet until all the steak has a brown crust. Turn off after about 4-6 minutes of cooking and let reserve until ready to assemble tacos.
- 2 tablespoons marscapone
- 2 tablespoons sour cream
- 2 tablespoons mayonnaise
- 1 teaspoon of your favorite seasoning
- 1 lime squeezed
- 1 teaspoon ground mustard
- 1 tablespoon hot sauce
- 1 teaspoon sherry vinegar
- 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
Mix all ingredients in a mixing bowl and whip with a whisk until completely smooth. Then reserve until ready to use.
What does it mean to pickle vegetables?
- I think we all enjoy pickled foods, but I would say most of us don’t know what pickling actually does. In general, pickling is an old culinary technique used to preserve fresh food like vegetables and even fruit. There are 2 types of pickling. One uses vinegar to create a solution so acidic that bacteria can’t survive. A good example of this is pickles! The other uses a salt brine to encourage fermentation which encourages the growth of good bacteria. A good example of this is kimchi. In addition to preservation, pickling also changes the flavor profile of foods. Pickled foods tend to have a tangy, slightly sour flavor. The exact flavor will vary depending on the pickling liquid and seasonings you choose to use.
Ingredients, Substitutions & Adjustments
- Water – This is 1/2 of the pickling liquid. I use an equal amount of water and vinegar to create the base of the pickling liquid. If you want to have a less intense vinegar flavor, play with the ratio of water to vinegar. I personally prefer a 1:1 ratio.
- Vinegar – Vinegar is the other half of the pickling liquid. This is the component that works to preserve the vegetables and give it that tangy flavor. I used apple cider vinegar and distilled vinegar to pickle my vegetables. I used apple cider for one jar, distilled for one jar, and a mixture of both for another jar. You can use any combination of vinegars for pickling depending on the flavor you want to impart to your vegetables.
- Sugar (optional) – This is an optional ingredient. I used a tablespoon of sugar to add a bit of sweetness to counteract the sour flavor of vinegar.
- Salt (optional) – Salt brings out the flavor of the other ingredients. This is also optional.
- Your choice of vegetable or fruit – I used carrots, beets, squash, peppers, daikon, radishes, and red onion, but you can pickle almost any vegetable you can think of.
- Herbs (optional) – In one of my jars, I added 2 bay leaves and a teaspoon of dried thyme for some extra flavor. Adding herbs can be a good idea to give your pickled vegetables different flavors. Experiment and find what works for your palette!
Making pickled vegetables
- Combine all the ingredients for the pickling liquid into a pan. Heat until boiling and simmer for 1-2 minutes. Remove from the stove and let it sit at room temperature for 30 minutes. Taste and adjust to your tastes. You can also use it right away if you want, but I like to use it when it’s room temperature. While you are waiting for the liquid to cool, cut and add your vegetables to glass jars. Pour the liquid over the vegetables, ensuring to completely submerge them. Let them sit in the fridge to pickle for a few hours up to a few months. They will keep in the fridge for up to 3 months.
How long do pickled vegetables last?
- Pickled vegetables last up to 3 months in the fridge.
How do you store pickled vegetables?
- Pickled vegetables should be stored in air tight glass containers in the fridge. I personally like glass jars with clamps because they are the most air tight containers you can find. They also don’t have any metal on the inside of the jar which can sometimes rust with pickling.
Prep Time: 20 mins
Cook Time: 10 mins
Servings: 18 people
- Glass Jars
- 3 large carrots diced
- 1 red onion diced
- ½ daikon diced
- Jalapeños diced
- Yellow squash diced
- Bell peppers diced
- Red beets diced
- 4 cups water
- 4 cups vinegar
- 2 tbsp sugar optional
- 2 tsp salt optional
- Combine all the ingredients for the pickling liquid in a pan. Heat to a boil and lower to a simmer. Simmer for 1-2 minutes.
- Remove the liquid from the heat and cool to room temperature (30 minutes). Taste and adjust to your tastes.
- While the liquid is cooling, cut your vegetables and place them in a glass jar.
- Pour the liquid over the vegetables, ensuring they are completely submerged.
- Cover the jars and place in the fridge for a few hours up to 3 months.
Terra Root Chips:
- Pulse the chips in a blender or crush with your hands and use for crunch for your tacos
- Reserve some clean cilantro. Make sure to wash at least two times in cold water to
- Ensure it’s clean. Add at the top of your ingredients for your tacos for freshness
Assembling your tacos: place on tortilla down on the plate, then spoon on teaspoon of Crema, then 2 shrimps, 8 pieces of diced steak, then pickled vegetables, Terra chips and top with cilantro and enjoy.
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