Latin Twist: Simple Corn Tortilla Snack


Meriendas—snacks—are an important treat in Latin America. Of course they greatly vary from country to country, and even from region to region within a country. And, just like snacks here in the States, they range from sweet to savory.


Maybe it’s that after-school thing that started when I was in elementary school (Ay! X years ago!), but at about 3 pm or so, I start craving something to munch on. Though I still enjoy a cafecito (little coffee!) in the afternoon—despite having a couple of cups in the morning—I always seem to crave a more substantial snack. In many places in Latin America that I’ve had the pleasure of living and visiting, the afternoon

merienda is a key part of the day—and almost like a mini meal, because you share it with family and friends.


Lately my favorite merienda is the one I’m going to share with you today: a toasted corn tortilla with a bit of cheese and fresh guacamole. (Actually, this is also something I enjoy for breakfast…but that’s another story!)


So today, my friends, I’m sharing my number one snack pick (at least these days!), which has—in the past few weeks—doubled as an appetizer!


Serves 4


8 fresh  yellow or blue corn tortillas (available in Viva Grande Ranch in New Rochelle, as well as in other local markets)

8 slices of your favorite melty cheese (I’ve been using Monterey Jack with jalapeño, but even mozzarella works!)

Guacamole (see my earlier post, here!) or Mango Salsa (look here!) (Brought BOTH, by the way, to the event at La Casa Azul Bookstore…so if you were there, you’ve already tasted ’em!)

Hot sauce (we’re big Cholula Hot Sauce fans!)


Using a gas stove, or a hot griddle pan, toast a tortilla on one side. After you flip it, add a slice of cheese and toast until slightly melted. Repeat with remaining tortillas. (At this point, if you want to put them aside until later, set aside, and cover with foil; you can reheat in a 350F oven for about 10 minutes. )


Add a dollop of guacamole, or salsa—or both (I like mango salsa with avocado slices!) just before serving. Of course you can also invite your guests to add their favorite topping!





About Author

Maybe it was the dinner parties my mom always threw—or the hours I spent prepping and cooking alongside her (and then on my own!). Or maybe it was array of fabulous dishes that my family sampled in New York City’s richly diverse restaurants, but I’ve loved creating, savoring, and sharing food for as long as I can remember. Living in Spain, and later in Peru, also greatly influenced my life. These years abroad taught me Spanish—and about living in different countries--but also introduced me to teaching English as a second language, which I’ve done—mostly in the US-- for the past 20-plus (yikes!) years. I’ve authored two cocktail/tapas books, Mambo Mixers and Calypso Coolers, coauthored more than 15 others (mostly food related!), and raised two children. Now I'm chef and owner of my own restaurant, Mambo 64 in Tuckahoe, New York. My message is the same, whether I'm teaching, writing, running the restaurant or being a regular guest on the Spanish-language network Telemundo (on the morning show, Buenos Días Nueva York!). My belief in food—and the power of food—is far reaching, and is married with another one: the power of stories. I’m sure that if we could all sit down and have meals together, sharing both tastes and tales, we’d have peace on earth. Enjoy!

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