Recipe for tlayuda (Mexican tortilla pizzas)

Sally Pasley Vargas for The Boston Globe

Serves 4

The word tlayuda (pronounced chai-LOO-da), a street snack in Oaxaca, is harder to pronounce than it is to assemble for a quick weeknight supper. In Oaxaca, these tortillas, assembled and left flat, would be made with steering-wheel size corn tortillas baked on a hot clay surface. Manchego, Muenster, or Monterey Jack stands in for Oaxacan string cheese, and a large flour tortilla replaces the corn tortilla. Though it’s a bit saltier, feta can be substituted for cotija or anejo cheese, also sprinkled on the rounds. Here large flour tortillas are brushed on both sides with oil, heated until firm in a hot skillet, and slathered with refried beans and cheese. Bake until crisp and brown and then have some fun with the toppings. These are guidelines, not rules: Top with cooked corn, tomatoes, avocado, and instant-pickled red onions.


¾cup white vinegar
¼cup water
½teaspoon salt
¼teaspoon black peppercorns
½teaspoon oregano
1bay leaf
1red onion, halved and sliced
Kernels from 2 ears corn (1 cup corn)
4large flour tortillas (10-inches each)
3tablespoons vegetable oil
1can (15 ounces) refried black beans
1heaping cup (4 ounces) grated manchego, Monterey Jack, or Muenster cheese
1large tomato, thinly sliced
1cup (4 ounces) crumbled cotija or anejo cheese (or feta)
1large ripe avocado, seeded and sliced
3sprigs fresh cilantro, leaves removed from stems (for garnish)

1. In a small saucepan over medium heat, bring the vinegar, water, salt, peppercorns, oregano, and bay leaf to a boil. Add the onions and return to a boil. Remove from heat and transfer to a bowl. Cool to room temperature. (Store onions and brine in a glass jar in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.)

2. Set the oven at 425 degrees. Have on hand 2 baking sheets.

3. Bring a saucepan of water to a boil. Add the corn and cook 2 minutes exactly. Drain and pat dry.

4. Set a large skillet over medium heat. Brush the tortillas on both sides with oil. When the skillet is hot, cook the tortillas one by one, for about 1 minute on a side, or until it is firm and a little charred. Set the cooked tortillas on the baking sheets.

5. Divide the refried beans among the tortillas. Top with shredded manchego, Monterey Jack, or Muenster cheese. Transfer to the oven and bake for 6 to 8 minutes, or until the cheese melts and the tortillas are crisp and brown at the edges.


6. Remove from the oven. Top each tortilla with tomatoes, corn, crumbled cotija or anejo, avocado, red onion, and cilantro leaves. With a pizza cutter or scissors, cut each tortilla into 4 wedges. Sally Pasley Vargas

Sally Pasley Vargas can be reached at sally.p.vargas@gmail.com.