One of the things I picked up at Atlantic Spice on Saturday when we were up on The Cape was a bag of pico de gallo.  Pico de gallo is generally a salsa of sorts, made with tomatoes, onions, peppers, lemon juice, cilantro… The ingredients vary from area to area and it can be firey hot or fruity mild.

The bag I bought was a blend of spices and seasonings.  While I usually don’t buy a lot of spice blends, I thought what the heck.  Actually, I just think that I don’t buy a lot of spice blends… when I opened the spice cabinet to figure out how I was going to fit yet another item in there, I noticed just how many spice blends I don’t buy.

I can’t believe how many I don’t buy.

I decided I needed to do something vaguely Mexican tonight.  I had chicken already cooked from the bird I cooked yesterday for the soup,  pico de gallo spice… An idea started forming.

My first thought was to do something like a gordita or an El Salvadoran pupusa.  (A woman I worked with years ago at San Francisco General Hospital made the best pupusas!!!  Alicia, I miss you and your cooking!)

But… I made more of a tamale dough than a pupusa or gordita dough.  Much softer and lighter.

So, I decided to make something open-faced.

I made the dough:

  • 1 cup masa harina
  • 1/3 cup lard
  • 1 cup warm water
  • pinch salt

The filling was:

  • chicken
  • pico de gallo
  • roasted red peppers
  • chopped green chiles

topped with:

  • quesso fresco
  • cotija

Cotija is an aged Mexican cheese.  Salty and dry, it’s like a Mexican version of parmesan.

The topless gorditas were very soft, so I put the tray in the ‘fridge for an hour for them to firm up.  I never would have gotten them off the pan at room temperature.

I fired up the griddle and browned them really well and then stuck the griddle under the broiler to melt the cheeses and heat everything through.

I topped them with salsa verde and a few sliced black olives.

It may not have been the most authentic of Mexican meals, but it definitely hit the spot!  I can definitely see some variations on this theme!