Yes, these are tortillas deep-fried in oil. But we don’t eat them all the time; the tortillas we use are small and basically, they taste just so damn good on family taco night. And when you are trying to rally the troops for yet another family taco night, these crispy shells are the treat that keeps the whining in check.
First, you’ve got to have the right corn tortillas. If you don’t make them yourself, then the best are Guerrero. They come in lots of different sizes, but we use the 5-inch tortillas for the tacos shells. The trick is to heat the tortilla before you fry them –this makes them more pliable and tear less.
I begin by setting up my workstation with my sauté pan and small saucepan (about 1 ½ quarts) on the stove. Fill the saucepan about 4-5 inches with oil and heat it on the stove. You’ll know when the oil’s ready when you can drop a piece of tortilla in and it’ll bubble all around. Next, on medium heat in the sauté pan, warm the tortilla all the way though. It only takes a minute to heat them up.
When your oil is hot enough, put the warm tortilla in the hand colander basket and place the pasta spoon over the top (see visual). Submerge tools and tortilla completely in the oil for 3 minutes.