I got the salsa made.
I got the tortillas made.
Then, it was time to fry.
I set up the same small frying pan that I used to cook the corn tortillas.
I added enough vegetable oil to fry small batches...to within an inch of the top of the pan.
I turned the heat to medium high and used a digital thermometer to get to 350 degrees.
I sat up a baking sheet with a cooling rack in it and two layers of paper toweling to drain the chips.
I cut the tortillas in 6 or 4 pieces, depending on the size of the tortilla. I could tell that some were thick tortillas and some were very thin. It was hard to get the tortillas thin without tearing them when I took them off the plastic wrap. (The best chips were the very thin tortillas) I slid about 8 or so pieces of tortilla into the pan for each batch...the thicker ones swelled up (not good - they weren't crispy) and they turned a deep brown as they cooked.
I sat up my salsa and started sampling. The biggest thing was the inconsistent chip quality. Some were too hard, some were too soft and almost "chewy", some were poofed up...only every so often did I get a chip that "felt just right" in the mouth. I know it sounds like Goldilocks and the Three Bears!
I really think it was the thickness of the tortillas. I've noticed in restaurants that the "homemade tortilla chips" are always thicker...but at least they are always crunchy! I wonder if a few things might make the difference:
1. use of corn oil maybe, instead of vegetable oil?
2. use of a bigger pan and higher temperature oil? 360 or so?
3. obviously thinner tortillas - no question there.
4. letting the tortillas "dry out" a little before frying them?
5. using white masa instead of yellow masa? It seems most of the commercial ones are made with white corn flour. I didn't see any blanco masa de harina at the store! Only amarillo.
All I know is I wish I had the tortillas back - they were delicious warm with butter. The chips - well, I'd rather buy a bag of El Milagro tortilla chips...my very favorite brand - and while they are made in Austin, they are available at our local grocery store!
I know my friend is waiting to hear how they turned out. I think I'd make them again if I was living in a foreign country without good chips...but since I live in the South Texas area, I'll just roll on over to the grocery store for my chips. They look good - but they were not up to my standards...I still ate more than half of them...in search of the elusive "perfect chip". If there are any readers out there who can give me advice - I'd be happy to see your comments! I'm irritated when I can't get things right.
BON APPETIT, Y'ALL!!!