Masa Griddle Cakes with Poblanos and Goat Cheese

Chef Way At Xochitl restaurant in Philadelphia, these simple griddle cakes are presented as a trio—one topped with chorizo, one with duck and one with goat cheese—with a cactus paddle salad.

Easy Way Pick the tastiest griddle cakes—the creamy goat cheese ones—and drop the variations. Instead of a cactus paddle salad, roasted poblano strips are added as a garnish. These cakes make great appetizers or hors d'oeuvres.

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  • 1 1/4 cups masa harina
  • 1 cup cold water
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 6 poblano chiles
  • 1/4 cup pure olive oil, plus more for frying
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • Pinch of dried oregano, crumbled
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • One 15-ounce can black beans, drained
  • 4 ounces chilled fresh goat cheese, crumbled

How to make this recipe

  1. In a medium bowl, stir the masa with the water and the salt until a soft dough forms. Divide the dough into 12 balls and flatten them into 2-inch cakes. Transfer to a plastic wrap-lined baking sheet and cover with plastic wrap.

  2. Roast the poblanos directly over a gas flame or under a broiler, turning, until charred all over. Transfer to a bowl, cover with plastic wrap and let stand for 10 minutes. Peel, core and seed the chiles, then cut them into thin strips.

  3. In a medium skillet, heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil until shimmering. Add half of the onion and cook over moderate heat until softened, about 7 minutes. Add the poblano strips and oregano and cook for 2 minutes, stirring occasionally. Season with salt and pepper and keep warm.

  4. In a medium saucepan, heat the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil until shimmering. Add the garlic and the remaining onion and cook over moderate heat until softened, about 7 minutes. Add the beans and cook, coarsely mashing them with a potato masher just until creamy, about 2 minutes. Season with salt and pepper and keep warm.

  5. Heat a griddle. When it is hot, generously brush it with oil and add the masa cakes. Cook over moderately high heat, turning once or twice, until they are golden and crisp, about 4 minutes. Transfer the cakes to a platter and top each with a dollop of the beans and a mound of the poblano mixture. Garnish with the goat cheese and season with salt and pepper. Serve right away.

Contributed By Published January 2013

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