Friday, September 19, 2008

Product Review: Tortilla Oven/Warmer

We eat a lot of both flour and corn tortillas in my home. Burritos, soft tacos, quesadillas and enchiladas play a big part in my Mexican and Tex-Mex cooking. In case you’re not aware of it, tortillas, especially corn ones, need to be warmed before you can roll or bend them. Traditionally, the heating is done on a comal. A Comal is kind of like a flat cast iron griddle. You set it over low to medium eat, and allow it to heat up. Once hot, you toss the tortilla on it for a few moments, flip it to heat the other side and then you’re good to bend it or roll it for its intended use.

I like using a Comal because I like the ritual of it. It’s something that has been done for thousands of years in the Americas. From simple stone or clay Comal over open fires right on down to my cast iron one on my gas stove. I like the link, the vibe and the history.

Then there are the work nights when I want fish tacos or chicken enchiladas, but I just don’t really have the time to heat the tortillas one at a time on the comal. What does a fish taco junkie do on those nights? Well, I use a tortilla oven/warmer. I don’t know how long they’ve been around, but their relatively new to me and handy as all hell when I want homemade Mexican food and time is in short supply.

They’re a breeze to use. You just count out the number of tortillas you think you’ll need, separate them a little, slide them into the tortilla oven/warmer and then pop them into the microwave for a few seconds. Out come perfectly warm and pliable tortillas! The added bonus is that those tortillas, if left in the warmer will stay that way for a long time! In the spirit of Food TV’s Alton Brown’s recommendation that no kitchen item should be a “unitasker”, I also use my tortilla oven/warmer to keep my freshly baked flat breads warm. Naan, roti and a host of my homemade flat breads find their way into my tortilla oven/warmer where they stay perfectly hot and soft until used.

I’ve had my tortilla oven/warmer for over a year now and I highly recommend it to anyone who serves tortillas and other flat breads. My rating: 5 stars!

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