Black Bean Tlacoyos with Salsa Mexicana
Blue masa gives this traditional oval-shaped Mexican dish a hearty and beautiful base.
Mexican | masa | vegetarian
Walk down a street in Mexico and you’ll likely find vendors selling street food made with a base of fresh masa. Tlacoyos are a cross between huaraches, large, flat ovals, usually topped with mashed beans, and sopes, which look like thicker tortillas and often have similar toppings to tacos. Tlacoyos are stuffed with beans or meat and can be served with or without toppings.
Chef Fermín Núñez of
in East Austin serves his black bean tlacoyos with seared nopales (cactus) paired with a fresh and spicy tomato salsa. Both nopales and masa can be found at Latin markets and some well-stocked supermarkets. Chef Núñez likes the slightly chocolatey flavor of blue masa but white can be used as well. If only
is available, you can reconstitute it with water.
is the perfect surface for cooking the tlacoyos. The searing power of Carbon Steel helps crisp up the masa to stand up to the toppings.
For the Tlacoyos
nopales, spines removed
pound blue corn masa
cup refried black beans
white onion, sliced lengthwise
Olive oil for cooking
Kosher salt, to taste
For the Salsa Mexicana
white onion, finely chopped
bunch cilantro, finely chopped
serrano chile, thinly sliced
tablespoons olive oil
Kosher salt, to taste
cup grated cotija cheese
To form the tlacoyos, divide the masa into four equal balls. Using your hands, flatten the masa to a round disk, about 4 inches in diameter.
Spread 2 tablespoons of beans down the center of the dough. Fold both sides of the disk toward the center, enclosing the filling like an empanada. Pinch seams closed. Flatten into a ¼-inch thick oval-shaped patty. Repeat with remaining dough and beans and set aside.
To prepare the nopales, remove the thicker, tougher, bottom part that connects with the rest of the cactus plant, about 2-3 inches. Place the paddle on a butcher board with the spines pointing towards you.
, brush away the spines, applying minimal pressure and relying on the weight of the knife. Then, trace the outside of the paddle with a knife to cut off the outer spines. Repeat on the other side of the paddle to make sure you have removed all the spines.
Slice into 3-inch wide pieces and then cut horizontally into 1 ½-long pieces. Salt heavily, mixing to make sure they’re fully coated, and let sit for 30 minutes.
To make salsa Mexicana, finely slice the tomatoes, then chop them into a pulp, making sure to keep their liquid. Combine with onion, cilantro, and serrano in a medium bowl. Add lime juice, olive oil, and season with salt to taste. Set aside.
Rinse and drain nopales a few times to remove excess slime. Heat a comal over high until very hot. Add oil and sear the nopales in a single layer for a few minutes until they begin to brown in spots. Add the onions and stir together, adding more oil if needed. Cook until vegetables are lightly charred. Set aside.
To cook the tlacoyos, reduce the heat to medium-low and lightly oil the comal, carefully using a paper towel to spread the oil in an even layer. Working in two batches, cook tlacoyos for three minutes each side, then flip to crisp one side for two minutes more.
To assemble, top tlacoyos with cooked nopales and onions, then salsa, and finish with avocado and cotija.