It used to be almost impossible to find tortillas in Israel, but not anymore.
The flat, unleavened pancakes are much more common thanks to the growing trend of Mexican-inspired eateries that have opened around the country in the last few years. One such place is Mezcal, named after the traditional Mexican alcoholic beverage. It’s a bar and restaurant in the trendy Florentin quarter in south Tel Aviv.
Owner and chef Ziv Erlich, who grew up in Mexico, is a self-appointed ambassador of the Mexican culture and cuisine in Israel. In his bar he uses ingredients he imports from Mexico every few months, but he says that using commercially distributed ingredients is good as well.
Tortillas may can be found in large supermarkets, natural foods stores and markets in neighborhoods with American residents. Flour tortillas are easier to find than corn tortillas.CEVICHE TOSTADAS Makes 4
Tostadas are flat, crisp fried corn tortillas topped with a variety of ingredients, often including salads of raw vegetables. They are served as an appetizer or a light meal.
✔ 350 gr. fresh sea fish, cubed
✔ 2 medium tomatoes
✔ 3 small cucumbers, peeled
✔ 1⁄2 onion
✔ Handful coriander leaves, chopped
✔ Tabasco or other chili sauce
✔ Juice of 1 lemon
✔ 8 tortillas (2 per person)
Place the fish in a bowl and pour the lemon juice, cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes. Fry the tortillas briefly in vegetable oil until golden on both sides and place on paper towels.
Dice the vegetables, add coriander and marinated fish. Season with chili sauces, salt and pepper. You may add a little tomato juice. Top with the ceviche and serve.MEAT-FILLED TACOS Makes 4
Use either corn or flour tortillas, but make sure they are fresh and soft. For the filling, use any leftover meat or chicken stew or leftover roasted chicken. The meat must be tender and flaky.
✔ 1⁄4 -1⁄2 kg. cooked meat
✔ 1 onion, chopped
✔ 1 bunch coriander, chopped
✔ Hot salsa (see recipe below)
Flake the meat and sauté in a little oil until warmed up.
Heat the tortillas in an oven.
Place the meat on the tortillas, sprinkle with onion and coriander. Squeeze a little lemon on top and drizzle a little hot sauce on top. Fold and eat.CLASSIC TOMATO SALSA Makes 4
✔ 5 tomatoes
✔ 1 hot green chili pepper
✔ 1 onion
✔ 1⁄2 bunch coriander
✔ Salt Cook tomatoes and chili in hot water.
For a stronger taste, grill the vegetables instead of cooking. When cooked, strain and grind in a food processor until smooth; season with salt. It is recommended to add more salt than you would use in less hot sauces. Let cool. Chop the coriander and dice the onion. Mix the tomato paste with onion and coriander and chill.FAJITAS Makes 4
Fajitas are a stir-fried meat dish that is very common in Mexico. The dish is usually served in the hot skillet it is cooked in.
Popular meat ingredients today include chicken or beef. The amounts depend on how many diners you have.
✔ 600 gr. beef steak or chicken breast, sliced into strips
✔ Jalapeno or other chili, sliced very thin
✔ 3 bell peppers (try to use more than one color)
✔ 1 onion, sliced
✔ 2 garlic cloves, sliced (use less if you wish)
✔ Fresh corn on the cob, cut into small pieces
✔ 1⁄2 cup white wine
✔ 1-2 Tbsp. lemon juice
In a heavy skillet, sauté the meat in a little oil. Cook until medium-rare. Do not let the meat dry up. Remove from the skillet.
Add all the vegetables and more oil if needed. Stir-fry the vegetables – first the onions, then add the garlic, then the peppers.
Return the meat to the skillet when the vegetables are almost ready. Season the meat with salt and pepper. Add the wine and lemon juice and cook until evaporated.
Serve immediately in the hot skillet.
Serve with tortillas, hot salsa, guacamole and chopped coriander.
To serve: Spread guacamole on each tortilla, place a little of the fajitas on top, season with hot salsa and roll up or fold and eat.GUACAMOLE Makes 4
✔ 6 avocados, halved and pitted
✔ 1 onion, diced
✔ 2 tomatoes, diced
✔ 1⁄2 bunch coriander, chopped
✔ Juice of 1⁄2 lemon
Place avocado flesh in a bowl. Crush the avocado using a fork or spoon; it does not have to be smooth. Add the rest of the ingredients, squeeze in the lemon juice, season with salt, and mix. Recipes and photos courtesy of Mezcal Bar and Restaurant, 2 Vital Street, Florentin, Tel Aviv, (03) 518-7925.