A thick masa pancake, often with a raised ridge for retaining toppings.
Roots: Mexico (Central/Southern Mexico: Guerrero, Estado de Mexico, Oaxaca, Puebla, etc.), Guatemala
Cooking Method: Comal and/or fried
Sopes are also known as pellizcada, picada, and garnacha (Yucatan and Guatemala). Any sized sope goes, really, but they’re often 3 to 4 in. [7.5 to 10 cm] across and they’re enjoyed as an antojito (“little whim”) or appetizer. In the Yucatan, the sopes (garnachas) may have a higher ridge, more closely resembling small cups.
Comal: Preheat the comal to medium-high heat. Roll a ping-pong-size ball (about 1 1/2 in [4cm] of Table Tortilla Masa (page 114). You can flatten with a tortilla press, but it’s far more fun (and I think easier) to use your hands to shape the sope into a 1/4 to 1/2 in. [6 to 12 mm] thick pancake. You can do this either freehand or by flattening a masa ball onto a flat surface (like your kitchen counter to maintain a flat bottom.
Lower the comal to medium heat. Cook one side of the sope for about 2 minutes. Flip over and let the second side cook for another 2 to 3 minutes. While the second side cooks, and the first cooked side is still quite soft, pinch the edges to create a short ridge around the circumference to retain sauces and additional toppings. (You may also remove the sopes after each side has cooked for 2 minutes, if you’d prefer bit to create the rim while the sope is in the pan. Alternatively, you can try shaping the sope and creating its ridge before you place it on the comal.) Flip the sope back to the ridged side for another 2 to 3 minutes. Continue cooking until cooked through to the center, but still soft. Enjoy immediately, or if you plan to use it within the next 6-12 hours, let it rest wrapped in a kitchen towel at room temperature.
Fried: For best results, parcook the sope on the comal for 1-2 minutes per side. The reduced moisture from parcooking prevents bubbling and allows for a crispier finish on the outside. Heat 2 in [5 cm] of oil to 350 degrees Fahrenheit [180 degrees Celsius]. Add the sope and fry for 2 minutes or until golden brown. Remove with a slotted spoon or spider and place ton paper towels to drain excess oil.. These are best served warm.
Storage: A fresh comal-prepared sope is best enjoyed immediately, but may be stored (without toppings) for up to 7 days refrigerated or 1 year frozen. A little bit of water rubbed on either side of the sope will help replenish any moisture lost during storage prior to reheating with a comal. A fried sope should be enjoyed immediately; they do not store well.
From MASA, ©2022 Jorge Gaviria. Photographs by Graydon Herriott.
Used with Permission from the Author and Chronicle Books, LLC.