This summer I read an entire stack of cookbooks to broaden my horizons and started visiting farmers’ markets on a weekly basis, with a mission: Find something I’ve never had or used before, do some homework, and figure out how to make something splendid out of it. I am still reading and continue searching for new and funky ingredients in stores as well, which is really fun because the results are always unexpected and fun.
A few weeks ago my pick was arugula, and I had a housewarming party to go to. I was rushing through the day, having made apple butter, and didn’t want to show up with a salad, and after manically rifling through the fridge, I had a lightbulb moment. I had a stack of 46 corn tortillas in the fridge and needed to find a way to use them! Tacos are fun, and you rarely get to have them at parties, so the idea was to make tiny appetizer-sized ones that were open-faced, with some of my favorite, super-strong ingredients. Just because they’re small doesn’t mean they have to have tiny taste!
This was really fun to make, as it had to be done at the friend’s house, and other guests became curious to see what the hubbub was about.
“What is she making?”
“I don’t know, but it smells great!”
“Is she frying prosciutto?”
Reading the books this summer has surprised me in so many ways and provided new ideas that I love doing the same thing for other people. What? Frying this? Torching that? Putting those together? Oh yeah!!
Open Faced Mini Taquettes
(makes 20 pieces, but you can do more if you want because a lot of people wanted extra servings! There are a lot of options here, so play around and run with it! The choices I made created a very sweet-salty layered affect on top of the neutral corn “chips”, with a little bite from the arugula and pepper, which was a lot of fun.)
6″ diameter Corn tortillas (I used 5, for 20 taquettes)
Prosciutto, very thinly sliced (get your butcher to slice it for you. Also can try using bacon, pancetta, similar types of sliced meat, or for a vegetarian options, try substituting veggie bacon or mushroom slices that are fried until golden and crunchy)
1 big handful of arugula, stems removed (or rocket, as Jamie Oliver says, which confused me for the longest time)
1 or 2 tbsp salad dressing (I used Kraft’s sundried tomato & oregano, but also would have tried a raspberry vinaigrette, honey-mustard or Italian dressing)
1 head of roasted garlic
Gruyère cheese, for grating (have at least a 2″ square block)
Olive oil, for frying and drizzling
Pepper to season with
Notes: You can also do these with slices of baguette, but would have to watch for burning, toast for a shorter period of time, and they wouldn’t be little tacos. I might also try a very Italian version of this one day, substituting basil leaves with no dressing for the arugula, shaved Pecorino or Parmigiano Reggiano for the Gruyère (be mindful of saltiness), and maybe adding a sundried tomato slice on top of the garlic to caramelize it while in the oven, mmm!