Located primarily in California, El Torito is a chain of fast casual Mexican restaurants founded in 1954 and often credited with popularizing the margarita in the US. El Torito restaurants can also be found in Arizona and Oregon with a handful of overseas locations.
From Red Lobster Cheddar Bay Biscuits to Buffalo Wild Wings hot sauce, chain and franchise restaurants are popular destinations around the world. Eating out too frequently can be costly, not to mention that it's hard to control portion size, ingredients, or the style of cooking to suit your preferences.
Making El Torito recipes on your own allows you to save money while enjoying your favorite menu items from the casual dining spot. This list collections the best copycat El Torito recipes from around the Web.
Sweet Corn Cake
1/4 cup butter, unsalted
2 tablespoons shortening
1/2 cup masa harina
3 tablespoons cold water
10 ounces frozen corn kernels (can be substituted with canned cream corn)
3 tablespoons cornmeal
1/4 cup sugar
2 tablespoons whipping cream
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
- Whip butter and shortening in mixing bowl until fluffy and creamy.
- Add masa harina and mix; add water while mixing.
- Blend corn kernels and stir into masa mixture.
- Add butter-masa mixture until blended.
- Pour mixture to baking pan and cover with foil. Bake for 40-50 miunutes.
- Wait to sit for 15 minutes before cutting to squares or serve using ice cream scoop. Makes 8 servings.
Mexican Caesar Salad
* for Cilantro Pepita Dressing
2 medium Anaheim chiles, roasted, peeled and seeded
1/3 cup roasted pepitas (pumpkin seeds)
2 cloves garlic, peeled
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 teaspoon salt
12 ounces salad oil
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
5 tablespoons grated Cotija cheese
2 small bunches cilantro, stemmed
1 1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup water
* for Salad
2 corn tortillas
1 large head romaine lettuce, rinsed and spun dry
1/3 cup finely grated Cotija cheese
roasted red bell pepper, peeled and cut into julienne strips
1/2 cup pepitas (roasted pumpkin seeds)
- Add zuccini, tomatoes and chicken breasts; bring to boil and simmer to 10 minutes. Remove from heat.
- Cut tortillas to matchstick strips.
- Saute tortillas in hot oil until crisp. Set aside to drain on paper towels.
- Place tortilla strips in individual bowls. Cover with grated cheese and ladle in soup.
- Top soup with slice of avocado and cilantro sprig. Makes 8-10 servings.
El Torito's Deep-Fried Ice Cream
20 ounces chocolate chip ice cream
2 cups 4-grain flake cereal, crushed
1 1/2 tablespoons sugar
3 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon water
4 (8-inch) flour tortillas
Oil for deep-frying
4 maraschino cherries
- Mix cereal, sugar and cinnamon. Divide equally in 2 pie plates; beat eggs with water.
- Roll ice cream ball in cereal mixture and press coating into ice cream. Dip coated ball in egg wash, then roll in second pie plate of mixture; press coating onto ice cream. Freeze ice cream balls for 4-6 hours.
- Hourglass-shaped tortilla: Cut off curved silce from 2 opposite sides of each end. One end will serve as base for ice cream. Other end will be a decorative fan.
- Heat oil in pan. Place tortilla between 2 ladles or large spoons of different sizes, with the smaller one on top. Place tortilla with base end cupped in larger ladle to form basket.
- Deep fry until crisp. Drain and sprinkle with cinnamon-sugar.
- Deep fry frozen coated ice cream balls for a minute. Place each tortilla in large-stemmed glass, fan part standing vertically above glass.
- Set ice cream in tortilla base; top with whipped cream and cherry. Makes 4 servings.
El Torito's Salsa
1 cup crushed tomatoes with added puree (such as Progresso)
2 cups tomatoes, diced 1/4 inch, including juice
1/4 cup yellow onion, diced 1/4 inch
2 green onions, finely chopped
1 tablespoon canned jalapenos, seeded and finely chopped
2 fresh serrano chiles, seeded and minced
2 teaspoons fresh lime juice
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon dried Mexican oregano, crumbled
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup cilantro leaves, chopped
- Add crushed tomatoes to the rest of the ingredients in a bowl and mix well.