Sourdough, Just Like They Made in Mexico

By Paul Angelillo | Antoinette Bruno

By

Paul Angelillo
Antoinette Bruno
Sourdough Tortillas, Green Tomato Salsa, Garlic, and Chive
Sourdough Tortillas, Green Tomato Salsa, Garlic, and Chive

While the local bread bowls make a fine snack for tourists—and seagulls—Chef Val Cantu highlights sourdough’s brief cameo in Mexican history with fluffy, tangy tortillas at Californios. “San Francisco was a traditional flour-making area when it was part of Mexico because wheat would grow here without irrigation,” says Cantu. “When I was growing up [in Texas], our restaurant made sourdough tortillas.” In his homage to the short-lived 19th century style, Cantu adds sourdough starter to a “very basic” flour tortilla recipe specked with garlic and chives. He then griddles the puffed dough before filling it with a salsa of unripe green tomatoes, lending a bite that’s firmly Mexican yet unmistakably San Franciscan, just as it was in the early 1800s. 

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