Fritos

Preparation info

  • Difficulty

    Easy

  • Makes about

    30 strips

    .

Appears in

Fritos is both a trademark and a common name for thin corn pone cut in strips and fried. The name and use as a finger-food snack or scoop for guacamole or hot chili sauce suggest its Mexamerican origins, but the corn crisp was everywhere in American corn-pone cooking. An easy recipe for Corn Meal Crisps comes from The Corn Cook Book (1918), easy because you just spread the cornmeal batter on an inverted baking pan and cut it into strips once it is cooked. Elizabeth Hiller specifies strips “the size of Saratoga wafers,” but we might say “the size of large Fritos corn chips.”

Ingredients

  • 1 cup yellow or white cornmeal, stone-ground if possible
  • 1 cup boiling water
  • 4 tablespoons butter, melted
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • vegetable oil for frying

Method

Stir meal gradually into the water, and when perfectly smooth add butter and salt. Spread dough evenly on an inverted buttered 9-by-14-inch baking pan no more than inch thick, and bake at 350° about 30 minutes. Immediately cut into strips about ½ inch by 3 inches and remove them carefully to a rack with a spatula.

Heat vegetable oil 2 inches deep in a wok or skillet until hot but not smoking. Add strips, a few at a time, and cook until crisp. Remove with slotted spoon and drain on paper towels. Salt to taste.