Picadas (Crimped Masa Tartlets)

Picadas (Crimped Masa Tartlets)
4.7 from 3 ratings
The size of these crimped tartlets can vary. I’ve seen them as large as five inches in diameter, which is manageable at a dinner table but too messy for a passed appetizer, which is how I like to serve them. Three inches is the most useful size.I am giving directions for briefly frying the picada shells in hot lard, the authentic Veracruzan technique. But when I serve them I often simplify things by reheating the shells on a griddle and just brushing them lightly with melted lard. This saves a lot of calories and a mess! Reduce the amount of lard to 2 to 3 tablespoons if you choose this option.
  • 1 pound masa, fresh or reconstituted by mixing 2 cups masa harina with about 1 1/8 cup water
  • 1 teaspoon salt, or to taste
  • 1/2 cup lard, preferably home-rendered
  • 2/3 cup salsa verde de aguacate (see notes for recipe)
  • 2/3 cup salsa verde de aguacate (see notes for recipe)
  • 8 ounce queso fresco, crumbled
  • 1/2 cup mexican crema
  • 1 small white onion, finely chopped (optional)
  1. With your hands, work the salt into the masa and divide into 20 to 22 walnut-sized balls. Press them into rounds about 3 inches across and 1/8 inch thick. Set them side by side (not stacked) on baking sheets as they are shaped, covering them with a damp cloth.
  2. Lightly grease a griddle or large cast-iron skillet and place over medium-high heat until a drop of water sizzles on contact. Have ready a basket lined with tea towels. Now you must work quickly, because the masa will be supple enough to shape for only a few seconds after baking. Place two of the prepared masa rounds on the hot griddle and bake for about 1 1/2 minutes, until the edges shrink away slightly from the pan and lose their raw look. Turn and cook the other side for another 1 to 1 1/2 minutes. Remove to a plate or work surface; while they are still hot, quickly pinch up the edges into a slightly raised rim. Place them in the basket and cover snugly with the towels. Continue with the remaining masa rounds, two at a time.
  3. In a small saucepan, heat the lard over medium heat until hot but not quite rippling. When ready to serve, arrange the picadas on a griddle and brush with the melted lard.
  4. Top half of the picadas with about 1 tablespoon of Salsa Verde de Aguacate and the other half with about 1 tablespoon of salsa de chile colorado. Scatter some of the cheese over the sauce in each picada and top each one with a swirl of crema and optional chopped onion.