Joss' Island
Grilled Onion Tortilla Cake...just like Johnny Garlics
Posted 10/8/2012 7:01:00 PM

It was the first thing I ever had at a Johnny Garlic’s restaurant. I was there for a work thing… the Grilled Onion Tortilla Cakes…and frankly…I didn’t understand it.

It took a couple times going to Johnny Garlic’s that I started to love and understand this fine appetizer. An appetizer that tasted great with a beverage…and an appetizer that you would inevitably begin peeling apart when you got to your third or fourth piece – because as an adult you can play with your food, and no one harps on you…or at least my friends don’t (you can dress us up, but you can’t take us out)

The time came recently to make this recipe. Now, I am going to tell you the last part first…when it was done, it tasted EXACTLY like the ones you order at the restaurant. Exactly. It was awesome. It’s really something you can make for a gathering and impress people with – especially people from around here who have probably had it at the restaurant.

But let me say this, it takes time to get done, because you have to let a lot of things set up in the fridge so that this 11 tortilla creation can hold in place.

It was because of this, that I kept putting off the recipe – going “oh, I don’t have time to do this now…maybe tomorrow…or the next day…or the next day”

Finally, on a Friday night – I set forth to make the Grilled Onion Tortilla Cake. The first step in the process is to roast the garlic. I had never done this before and I had NO idea it was as simple as putting it in tin foil with olive oil and salt and pepper for an hour. AMAZING! This was one of the easiest things I have done in this process…but the outcome was SO COOL! I was so eager to squeeze the garlic out of the garlic bulb, I kept burning my fingers. It was VERY fun to squeeze them out too…kind of like popping giant pimples, if I am to be honest…

Next you have to  make the mix to put IN the tortilla cake with the onions , garlic, cilantro etc. You have to make it, then put it in the fridge over night so it’s not all goopy when you go to fill the tortillas with it.

4 to 24 hours later (or so) you have to fill the tortillas with the mix. Here’s the thing – it is not going to look like there is enough mix for 11 tortillas, plus some for the dipping sauce. But, have faith. If you thinly spread it on the tortillas – you’ll be fine. Remember, this stuff is going to cover 10 tortillas (the 11th is the top), so through the layers you are going to get a lot of flavor.

THEN you let the tortilla cake sit in the fridge for 24 hours so that it can harden a bit so it doesn’t slide all over the place when you go to cut it. The recipe calls for 16 triangles to be cut out of the cake…but I only got 8, if I had gone any thinner, I think it would have fallen apart or slid around.

Then, you grill your pieces. You can do it on the bbq I think , but I used a grill pan AND I got the cool marks on it!

And so – that is the story of the Grilled Onion Tortilla Cakes. Dang good. And just like at Johnny Garlics. Only thing you’ll need with it is a Sea Donkey!



In a large skillet over medium heat, heat the oil. Add the onion and cook for 5 minutes, stirring to caramelize but not over brown. Add butter and sugar and cook until onions have nicely caramelized, about 15 minutes. Remove from heat and cool.

Once cooled mix together the remaining ingredients except for the tortillas and vinegar; refrigerate for at least 4 hours.

After mixture has had time to meld, set aside 1/3 of the mixture for the dipping sauce and evenly spread the remaining mixture on the top of 11 tortillas. Stack the tortillas on top of one another, with the last tortilla on top having no mixture spread on it. Wrap tortilla stack in plastic wrap and let set up for 12 to 24 hours in refrigerator.

Heat a grill heat. Cut the stack into 16 wedges. Grill each wedge on each side until warmed and grill marks appear. Mix reserved mixture with balsamic vinegar for dipping sauce. Serve tortilla wedges with dipping sauce.


Posted By: Joss  

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