I enjoy dining out almost as much as I love cooking in: perusing menu's, finding neighborhood favorites, trying different cuisines...I love it all. Having New York City at my finger tips, there is always a running list of restaurants I want to visit. My husband jokes that you can tell how much I am enjoying a meal by how many times I utter "I am going to try and make this at home."
Recently, friends introduced us to this tasty Mexican restaurant on the Lower East Side. The meal was so simply perfect that I repeated the aforementioned "I'm going to make this" an obnoxious number of times. And I've been doing just that, re-creating my favorite dish of homemade sopes, to perfect it before sharing it here.
Like any good Mexican food, the two main success criteria are the sauce and the base. The sauce, you may remember from this post. It's the wonderful Alice Waters Tomatillo Salsa Verde. If you don't have tomatillos on hand, substitute fresh store-bought salsa or a really good gourmet jarred variety such as Green Mountain Gringo or Desert Pepper.
The base and heart of this dish is a corn meal tortilla like cup, called a Sope. These gems are so simple to make, I urge you to try it at home. It looks like a lot of steps but from start to finish it takes me about 20 minutes. I purchased the corn flour or masa harina on Amazon.com for close to nothing!
Homemade SopesMakes about 16 sopes serving 4-5 (recipe easily halves to serve two)
- 3 cups masa harina
- 2 cups water or stock
- 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil
- 1 cup greek yogurt or sour cream whisked together with the juice of one lemon or lime, and a dash of hot sauce or srirachi
- 2 cups shredded lettuce
- 1 thinly sliced avocado
- Alice Waters Tomatillo Salsa or store bought gourmet salsa variety
- Cooked protein or vegetables of your choice (sauteed shrimp, roasted chicken, browned beef or sausage or stir-fried peppers will all work)
- Prepare your fillings by chopping the lettuce, whisking the yogurt with the lemon, slicing the avocado and making or purchasing the salsa
- Cook a protein to your liking. In the version below I sauteed:
- 1 chopped onion, 1/2 green pepper, 2 cloves of chopped garlic, 1 cup chopped cherry tomatoes, 1/2 pound of ground turkey, salt, pepper, a dash of cumin and a dash of hot sauce over medium heat until cooked through
- Mix the masa and water or stock together into a smooth consistency.
- Create a ball of dough about the size of a cue or racketball ball, and roll it between your hands until firm. Cover the bowl with the remaining dough with a wet paper towel.
- Place the masa ball in the middle of two plastic wrap lined cutting boards. Apply pressure until ball pushes out to 4 to 5-inch diameter. (If the edges of patty crack deeply the dough is too dry, if the patty does not remove from the plastic easily the dough is too moist.)
- Heat a cast iron pan on high until hot. Place the masa patty (as many as will fit) on the pan without any oil, brown on both sides, approximately 1 minute on each side. Remove and let cool.
- While still warm, form the edges up making a hollow tart like shell.
- Heat half the vegetable oil in the pan. Add thesope shells to oil and cook, flipping on both sides until slightly crispy and golden brown. (The original recipe suggests you deep fry in 1 inch of oil. I opt for a lightly fried healthier version)
- Hold warm for service.
- Spread a teaspoon of the yogurt/sour cream sauce over each sope
- Continue with a layer of protein, shredded lettuce, salsa and avocado
- Serve and enjoy!
- We are big eaters, and enjoy four per person, however three would likely suffice
Ground Turkey Filling
Mixing the Sope Dough
The Sopes, pre filling
P.S. I am playing around with different photography editing software, like this free trial from Camera Bag. Is there a software you prefer? I'd love to hear about it below.