Published June 1, 2006. From Cook's Country.
Are the corniest chips the best?
Several "upscale" brands sold in supermarkets promise authentic Mexican-style chips. How does this new style of tortilla chip compare with traditional supermarket offerings? To find out, we held a blind tasting of nine brands of tortilla chips.
As a group, the boutique brands lived up to their promise of good flavor: Tasters commented on the "authentic" taste: "Like chips I've had in Mexico," said one. These chips were consistently rated as having the most corn flavor. Each is made with stone-ground corn, resulting in a coarser-textured chip.
But despite their corny flavor, most of the boutique chips were ultimately rejected by tasters as being "too thick" and "stale." In contrast, the finer-textured chips (several of which are made with corn flour, not stone-ground corn) were described as "thin and crispy" and were perceived as being fresher.
In the end, it seems that the secret to a great tortilla chip isn't all that complicated. Just create finer-textured chips, whether made from corn flour or stone-ground corn, and add plenty of salt.
Tasters liked the "mild and salty" flavor and "sturdy" texture of these winning chips, whose "great crunch" topped the crispness charts.