Friday, June 22, 2012

Mini Taco Hors D’oeuvres with Roasted Red Pepper and Tomato Salsa

To download a copy of this recipe for Mini Taco Hors D’oeuvres with Roasted Red Pepper and Tomato Salsa, click HERE!

Hors D’oeuvres may not be the first thing that comes to mind in a discussion of good food, but if you’ve ever been to a really good cocktail hour you know that, taken all together, those mini-treats you snare from the trays of the servers as they go past can make a pretty good meal on their own. And although I’m as fond of cocktail franks dipped in mustard as anyone (maybe even fonder, if New Year’s Eve here is any indication), sometimes you just have to shake things up a bit and do something different and interesting.

Enter Mini-Taco Hors D’oeuvres with Roasted Red Pepper and Tomato Salsa. They’re made with seasoned taco meat and cheese placed inside a fresh-baked mini-shell, and dipped in a tasty salsa, so eating them is both delicious and fun.

Some Cook’s Notes before we begin.
  • The salsa portion of this recipe makes about 1-1/2 cups, which is more than you’ll need for the mini-tacos. Don’t worry; you’ll find something to do with it. Just use it within a couple of days, since it has a short shelf-life, or use proper canning procedures to hold it longer.
  • This recipe makes mild-medium salsa. Adjust amount of jalapeno pepper to desired heat level.
  • If you prefer not to make tortillas from scratch, just use a cookie-cutter to cut 3” rounds out of purchased corn tortillas.
  • Since corn flour does not contain gluten, it will not be damaged by being overworked while making the tortillas.

This recipe makes about twenty-four 3” mini-tacos.

First we’ll make the salsa.

Roast a red bell pepper on the stove top till blackened on all sides.

Wrap the blackened pepper in foil and let it steam in its own moisture till cool enough to handle.

Peel the blackened skin from the red pepper. Mince half of the pepper. Store the other half in a sealed container or storage bag and use in the next day or two.

In a non-reactive bowl, combine the salsa ingredients: the minced red pepper; 1 can (14.5 ounces) of diced tomatoes, drained; 1/4 cup cooked sweet corn; 1/4 green bell pepper, minced; 1/4 cup onion, minced; 2 garlic cloves, minced; 1/2 tsp minced jalapeno pepper; 1 Tbsp chopped fresh cilantro (or 1 tsp dried); 1/2 Tbsp fresh lime juice; 1/2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice; 1 – 3 Tbsp of tomato paste to desired thickness; 1/4 Tbsp salt; and a pinch fresh ground black pepper. Mix and set aside at least 30 - 60 minutes.

Next, our fresh tortillas. (If you’re using purchased tortillas cut to size, you can skip this step.)

In a bowl, mix 1 cup masa harina (corn flour with “lime” [calcium hydroxide]; use Maseca or similar); pinch of salt; and 1 cup of warm water until a soft, moist dough forms.

Divide dough into 24 balls. Cover with plastic wrap or a damp cloth to keep from drying out.

Place one dough ball at a time between plastic sheets (such as a cut food storage bag) dusted with corn flour, and use a tortilla press or a rolling pin to make tortillas about 3” in diameter. (Use the tortilla press if possible; rolling these by hand can be done, but it’s time consuming and labor intensive.) Make them only 3” – 3-1/2” in diameter; if you press them larger, they’ll be thin and too fragile to handle for cooking.

Carefully peel off the tortilla and put on a dry, non-stick medium hot skillet. Cook for about 30 seconds on each side. While the tortilla is cooking, start to press the next one.

As the tortillas finish cooking, place in a sealed container until ready to use.

Now for the filling meat:

Begin preheating the oven to 375 degrees. Heat a little olive oil in the same sauté pan you used for the tortillas, and sauté ½ a diced medium onions until lightly browned.

Add the ½ pound of ground turkey, ½ tsp salt and 1 minced garlic clove, and brown for about 4 minutes. Be sure the ground turkey is chopped into small pieces.

Add the 1-1/2 tsp chili powder; ½ tsp cumin; ½ tsp dried basil; ½ tsp dried oregano; and ¼ tsp fresh ground black pepper. Mix till combined. Add ½ cup of chicken broth and 2 Tbsp corn flour, and mix well. Simmer uncovered about 3 minutes until the liquid thickens a little.

Place one of the tortillas on a parchment lined baking sheet. Add some filling and cheese.

Fold the tortilla over to form the taco. Hold the tortilla closed with a water-soaked toothpick or with a water-soaked skewer that will hold several tortillas.

Repeat until all the tortillas have been formed into tacos.

Bake for about 15 minutes until the taco have started to get crisp.

To serve, trim any excess melted cheese from each mini-taco and serve with salsa for dipping!

To download a copy of this recipe for Mini Taco Hors D’oeuvres with Roasted Red Pepper and Tomato Salsa, click HERE!

Make these unusual treats for your guests, or for yourself and  your family, and enjoy!

See you next week with another home-made, kitchen-tested recipe! Till then, stay well, keep it about the food, and always remember to kiss the cook. ;-)


  1. They look fingerlicking! Love your tomato salsa too.

    1. Thanks, Angie! Glad you like them. I love when food not only tastes good, but is fun too!

  2. My daughter loves mini tacos...she's probably gobble these up!

    1. Thanks, Melissa! I have to say these got eaten up in pretty short order over here. :-) We also found that, if you want to reheat any leftovers, the microwave worked better than the oven.

  3. These looke really good and such a clever appetizer for a party! And I know that the plate would be the first to empty!

    1. Thank you, Martha! I had first seen something like this at the cocktail hour for a dinner we attended a while back, except those were somewhat thin and minimalist. I wanted something that more closely represented a miniature version of a full size taco. I am also hoping to get one or two more hors d’oeuvres recipes up in the near future.

  4. These sounds delicious! Summer always seems like a time for Mexican food, so you are right on with this. We had lunch on Friday at a Mexican restaurant (shrimp fajitas and gazpacho) and it was divine.

    1. Thanks, Sandy! I had not thought about the summer-Mexican food connection, but I think you might be onto something. They do seem made for each other!