How to Make the Perfect Fried Taco Shell at Home
How to Quickly Make Perfect, Crunchy Taco Shells at Home
Apparently, Taco Tuesday Is A Real Thing
I didn't know it when I got married last year, but the reason my husband was excited about Taco Tuesday was that for him and his family, it was a real thing. I don't mean that he enjoys tacos more than the average person (which he does). I don't mean that he finds it a convenient, fast dinner (which it is). I mean that if he doesn't get to eat tacos on a Tuesday, his world may literally end. Worse than that, store-bought shells, while acceptable in a pinch, just don't do it for him. He likes the taco shells fried from actual corn tortillas with love like his mother used to make. For me, this presented a problem, and a few grease burns, until I figured out the secret.
Step #1: What's the Oldest, Worst Pan You Have?
I've found that the best pans to use are those little saucer pans that maybe you used to make scrambled eggs or something in and now the coating is probably considered a health hazard. You know the ones I'm talking about. Probably about the size of the corn tortilla you're about to fry. You just can't seem to toss it, but you can't really cook anything in it. Well, now you have a legitimate use for it again!
Step #2: The Oil
While I prefer to use olive oil whenever possible, my husband swears by peanut oil. Whatever oil you have on hand is probably fine to use, but if you bought a giant keg of something to fry a turkey and 3 months later the rest of it is still sitting in the bottom of your pantry, here's a new use for that too. I put about a half an inch of oil in the skillet, since I can always add more if I need to later. Oddly enough, medium heat is often all that you need because it is so shallow. If you let your oil get too hot, you risk fires and burns and hot grease splatters and all sorts of nasty things. Make sure your oil is hot by dropping a crumb of cheese or something in it to test and make sure it sizzles before you start.
5 Seconds Towards You
15 Seconds Away From You
Step #3: The Counting
Yes, you do need to know how to count, but not past 45, so don't get too worried. As you'll see in photos, you'll need a pair of metal tongs too. These are usually easy to find and pretty cheap. You'll start with your hands though, so make sure to wash up! First, holding the tortilla at the top, lay the bottom half in the oil for about 5 seconds (yes, you'll need to count that) so that it gets coated in oil and warmed up. This will help you with cracking tortillas. Next, flip it the other way so that the bottom half is facing away from you in the oil and count to 15. This will eventually be part of the inside of the taco shell, because now you flip it back the other way and use your tongs to hold it down with one hand while holding the other half up at a 90 degree angle and count to 45 (30 if you let your oil get too hot). The main thing to focus on is the shape so that the shell doesn't close up.
45 Seconds Back Towards You Again
Grab Your Tongs to Cook The Other Side
Step #4: Still Counting
Next, flip the shell over so that the other side will be in the oil and use the tongs to hold it wide open while you count to 45 (again, 30 if you let the oil get too hot). Check to make sure your taco shell is browned to your liking and carefully pull it out of the oil so that the excess can drip off. Place it upside-down on paper-towels to cool and lose a little more grease. And there you have it: a perfectly cooked home-made taco shell in just a few seconds! Now start filling them and get to eating before the rest of the family catches on to you!