Taste the Unfried Side of Tortilla Bowls

Today I have for you not so much a recipe as I do a method of cooking. Maybe cooking is too strong of a word - preparing? That sounds more like it. You see, I had some tortilla wraps, and was going to make myself a nice little quesadilla-type dish for dinner one night. So, I pulled out my pan, stuck it on the stove, plopped my tortilla on top...and realized that my pan was much, much too small. At that point I had two options: get out a bigger pan, or shove the tortilla in so that it fit. Guess which one went down in the Floptimism kitchen that night? Yes, I shoved that sucker right down into the bottom of the pan, and a revelation occurred.

What I had made was a beautifully fluted, very unfried tortilla bowl. However, would it stay that way? I shrugged, added the rest of my ingredients, popped a lid over it to wilt the spinach and melt the cheese, and left the room. The moment of truth arrived roughly ten minutes later when the filling was heated thoroughly and the cheese was melted to perfection: it was time to transfer it to a plate. And do you know what? That tortilla stayed fluted, it stayed in the shape of a bowl! Now, I admit that this process may be a little tedious if you have to make a dinner for 5 people, all heated in their own 8- or 10-inch pans on the stove top. Perhaps this revelatory method I've discovered and am so proud of has little practical application outside of the bachelor world, but that didn't make me any less excited to share it with you. It's a nice presentation, a completely easy and virtually hands-off process, and no less healthy than a tortilla with your desired toppings/fillings. You don't need to go to a Mexican restaurant and pay 10 bucks for a taco shell still dripping from its dip in the hot oil pool; this "recipe" for a tortilla bowl may not be an exact replica of that experience (re: you won't feel your pores clogging up by the end of the meal), but it's certainly a new spin on the homemade taco night, right?

The only complaint I have is that this method makes it a teensy bit difficult to eat the finished product. I had a tough time (literally) getting a regular knife to cut through it, so I threw the towel in, bundled it as best I could, and ate it more like a burrito. I'm not sure if this defeats the purpose of making the fluted shell in the first place. Perhaps you could try popping the wrap into the oven in the pan before you add the fillings to make it more like a baked chip that can break off more easily. I'd experiment with it, anyway.

Think Outside the Tortilla Bowl
Yield: 1 serving

The Ingredients
1 tortilla wrap
butter, to taste
fillings of your choosing*

The Method
Lightly rub the center of one side of the tortilla with butter, and place butter-side down on a small frying pan. Nestle the tortilla into the bottom so that the edges fold a little and create a fluted bowl-shape. Add in your desired toppings, turn the heat to medium-low, and cook, covered, for approximately 10 minutes. I knew mine was done when the condensation from the lid began to trickle out of the pan and sizzle, but would need to repeat the process before I could tell you that this was a reliable tip.

Notes: *I used 3 slices swiss cheese, 2 tablespoons green bell pepper, about 1/4 cup spinach (shredded), and about 3 ounces of israeli spice chicken (precooked and warmed), with a sprinkling of parmesan over the whole thing.

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