4 chicken breasts
2 garlic cloves
1 small onion
2 tablespoons vegetable oil (4 cups more later)
¼ teaspoon cumin
¼ pound queso fresco or feta cheese
½ cup salsa
12 uncooked or freshly made corn tortillas*
4 cups vegetable oil (or at least ¾” deep)
2 tablespoon fresh cilantro
* = Cooked tortillas from the store will require softening in the skillet or microwave. Uncooked tortillas while harder to find will make preparation easier.
Makes 12 flautas. Takes 1 hour 20 minutes.
Add chicken breasts and enough water to cover to pot. Bring to boil using high heat. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 20 minutes. Remove chicken to plate. Shred chicken using forks.
While chicken simmers, mince garlic and dice onion. Add garlic, onion, and 2 tablespoons oil to pan. Sauté at medium-high heat for 5 minutes or until garlic and onion soften. Stir frequently. Add shredded chicken and cumin. Stir until well blended. Remove from heat. Add equal amounts of the shredded chicken/onion mixture, queso fresco, and salsa to the middle of each tortilla. Roll up tortillas tightly and pin together with toothpicks.
Add oil to pan. Heat oil using medium-high heat until a tiny piece of the tortillas starts to dance in the oil. Add rolled-up tortillas to pan seem-side down. Sauté at medium-high heat for 4 minutes or until tortillas turn golden brown. Turn frequently, but carefully, to ensure even browning. You will most likely need to cook in batches. Remove from heat. Drain on plate covered with paper towel. Dice cilantro. Garnish with cilantro. Goes well with salsa.
1) Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, “The Angler of Vienna,” was also a pretty darn talented musician, writing such toe-tapping operas such as, Il re pastore, Zaide, Die Entführung aus dem Serail, Le Nozze di Figaro, Don Giovanni, and Cossi fan tutte.”
2) By the way, Mozart’s agent, Paolo Fettucine, arranged for tutti frutti, a new ice cream with chopped and candied fruits in it to be served at Cossi fan tutte’s debut. It was a stroke of P.R. genius. Ice cream lovers came for the dessert and stayed for the opera. Wolfgang never looked back, except when on the way to his secret fishing places.
3) But it is in Mozie’s culinary operas where The Angler of Vienna’s talents really shined. Who can fail to be uplifted by his sole English work, The Three Penny Hot Dog? or feel the anguish of Gibt es wirklich keine Apfelkuchen? (Is There Really No Apple Pie?)
4) The years 1784 – 1787 were his happiest; he had great fishing spots to himself. These interludes of quietude were also the moments of his greatest musical creativity as witnessed by the Fish Cycle operas: Der Kabeljau auf dem Markt (The Cod at the Market), Limone Pesce Impanati (Lemon Breaded Fish), and of course, “The Angler of Vienna’s favorite, Il Mio Punto di Pesca (My Own Fishing Spot.)
5) It’s ironic that Mozart, a famous fan of German cuisine, would write his greatest opera about Mexican food. But who could not be inspired by the brilliant cuisine of Vienna’s famous restaurant, “Los Cinco Tacos?” Wolfang tried the restaurant’s chicken flautas and fell in love with them. He would stay up all night to compose the brilliant, brilliant I say, opera, Las Flautas Mágicas (The Magic Flautas.) Unfortunately, the politics of that year dictated that no operas be performed in Spanish. (Do try to see it if it’s being performed nearby.) Broken hearted that he was, Mozart rewrote his opus. And so we have the not too shabby Die Zauberflöte (The Magic Flute.) But Mozart would never again write about Mexican food.
6) Then on December 5, 1791, Mozart’s muse, Ernestine, imparted to him the idea of writing the opera Stoßen der magische Kugelfisch, (Puff the Magic Pufferfish.) So strong was Mozie’s excitement over what he knew what would be his magnum opus that he grabbed his fishing pole and raced to Danube River. He continually glanced over his shoulders to see if anyone were following, for all the local anglers would descend on him en masse and fish and fish out his little side pond. It was heartbreaking. Mozart had to scrap one seafood opera after another because he couldn’t bring in enough fish to give a true, abiding sense of its flavor and abiding soul. On one occasion, competitors once fished all the trout from his special inlet. This is why we never got to hear his Guten Morgen, Forelle (Good Morning, Trout) and had to settle for the markedly Don Giovanni.
7) Anyway, Mozie eluded all anglers that day and caught six pufferfish. (1791 was an extraordinarily bountiful year for Viennese pufferfish.) Wolfie scurried home as fast as his chubby little legs would carry him. He cooked all the fish. Unfortunately, he died. For while his wiener schnitzel was second to none, he didn’t know how beans about preparing the potentially fatal pufferfish. His last words were, “Gott im Himmel, where are my car keys?” There were, of course, no cars in 1791 and so need for car keys. Culinary historians Mozart had channeling the frustration of millions upon millions of people two centuries later.
9) But Wolfgang’s musical vision for the pufferfish lasted through the centuries floating through the atmosphere until it found a suitable vessel, a worthy receptacle. This is how we got the classic song, “Puff the Magic Dragon” by Peter, Paul, and Mary. Sure the name and length of Stoßen der magische Kugelfisch changed a bit, but that magnum-opus had been floating around for centuries and became susceptible to modern musical scenes. And there you go.