What’s the Difference between a Flauta and a Taquito

Most Mexican cooks agree that flautas are tortillas made from flour, filled and folded into the shape of a flute. They are more likely to be eaten in the northern regions of Mexico where wheat is grown. They are not considered interchangeable with those made of corn, and are very often used to wrap sliced grilled or roasted meat, also a northern favorite.

Taquitos are tortillas made from corn flour, filled, folded into a cylindrical shape and fried a second time.

FLAUTAS

It is worth your while to find the taco factory in your town. If you have any Mexican population at all, there is a taco factory that will usually sell you freshly-made tortillas with their special perfume of freshness. Also, there are tortillas in the refrigerated section of the super market that are of high quality and good flavor. They usually are produced in a range of sizes and leave the cook free to concentrate on the flavors of the fillings, condiments, and presentation of the flautas.

MY FAVORITE FLAUTA

Filling of mushrooms, flavored with a hint of garlic, salt, and a few red pepper flakes, folded flute-like into a slightly-warmed flour tortilla. This idea originally, authentically, uses wild mushrooms and a pinch of epazote, but this version holds it’s own very well.

Condiments of fresh chunky salsa and sour cream suit my taste.

FAVORITE SALSA MEXICANA CLASICA

2 Medium, or 4-5 plum tomatoes, perfectly ripe
Fresh Serrano chiles to taste (I would start with 4 chiles and taste, but I like it hot.)
A dozen or so sprigs cilantro
1 large clove roasted garlic
1 or 2 scallions with green tops
1 1/2 tsp fresh lime juice
Salt to taste

Chop, core and seed tomatoes

Split the chiles, remove the ribs and seeds and put aside. Chop chiles and include their crunchiness into the tomatoes. When the salsa is made, taste; you might like to add some of the seeds and chopped ribs for additional heat. Chop and add roasted garlic and scallion. The size of your chop partly determines the rustic quality of your salsa. Finish with lime juice and salt.

Be sure your knife is sharp so that things are not bruised when chopping.

For best flavor, let salsa rest for a few minutes, but serve within a few hours of preparation if at all possible.

TAQUITOS

The greatest caution for these small, crisp tacos is, when they are fried, the oil must be hot enough so they brown quickly, and don’t get soggy.

SOME FAVORITE FILLINGS

Best-fried black beans with bacon, finished with a sprinkle of crisp bacon, crumbled queso fresco, and served on a bed of romaine lightly sprinkled with cider vinegar.

In regions of Mexico where dairying is practiced, taquitos filled with freshly-made ricotta cheese seasoned with herbs and chiles are highly popular.

Near the ocean, taquitos filled with fried or grilled fish are unsurpassed.

TO FINISH THE DISH

A variety of condiments should always be available:

* Salsa – Fresh – Smooth or Chunky – Red or Green – Roasted or Not

* Mexican Cheese – Sour Cream – Yogurt

* Cooked sauces – Red – Green – Mole’

* Additional chopped Chiles

* And the list goes on.