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Once I've eaten all the biggish chips with salsa, there are a bunch of small-to-crumb sized corn chips left. I always think I'll eat them plain later, but I happen to want more salsa now...and they sit until they get stale. But they're so delicious (so full of fat and salt!), it seems to me I ought to be able to incorporate them into a dish. But what?

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They're generally good for adding some crunch, too, not just the flavor. A few things that come to mind:

  • on top of a salad - my family does a roasted corn and black bean salad; also probably good instead of croutons in salads where they're a better flavor/style fit

  • garnish on a soup - tortilla soup, sopa de elote...

  • as part of a breading for fish or chicken (or anything else to bake or fry)

In general, anywhere you would use breadcrumbs, tortilla chip crumbles might find a place. If you're afraid they're too salty, you could always put dump them in a sieve and shake some of the really small bits out, leaving the more sizable bits of chip.

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Not just on a soup, in a soup. Add the small chips to puréed soups and cook them in. The chip crumbs soften, and can be blended in to help thicken the soup. –  Bruce Alderson Nov 22 '10 at 5:40
    
@Bruce: True enough; I was just going for uses that left the chips more noticeable. –  Jefromi Nov 22 '10 at 5:57
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They're also good for breading (pan|deep) fried foods. Dredge, egg wash, dredge in chips, fry! –  Bruce Alderson Nov 22 '10 at 16:03
    
Thanks! Tried the soup garnish approach and it worked beautifully. And I hadn't thought about them as breadcrumb alternatives; now I see plenty of uses... –  Josh Bleecher Snyder Nov 23 '10 at 2:53
    
I'd also add sprinking it on top of casseroles, instead of breadcrumbs for a little extra crunch. –  Joe Nov 23 '10 at 13:16
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Throw them in the frying pan with an egg. You'll get a crispy crunchy egg tortilla matrix.

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I sometimes add the crumbs (or more, if there's not enough) to chili (chili con carne) as a thickener.

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I think Angelina Jolie (of Tomb Raider fame) uses these crumbs for crumb crust. Not sure about that factoid, but hey. You can actually use these crumbs that way.

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Fun fact: You know how there is always an exact weight on your bag on corn chips, even though corn chips are irregularly sized? You ever wonder how they come to that exact weight, because, legally, if the weight were off they could be sued (for false advertising)?

The answer is salt. They add salt to make up the different in weight.

Now what would you like to do with the stuff at the bottom of the bag?

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Ouch. Still, the chunks I have at the bottom are too yellow and too large to just be salt. :) –  Josh Bleecher Snyder Nov 22 '10 at 2:59
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My local corn chip provider lists the ingredients as corn & oil, nothing else. There is no salty taste etc. So it depends where you buy them. I just put the left overs on the compost heap, you do have a one don't you? –  TFD Nov 22 '10 at 3:22
    
@TFD The OP said (so full of fat and salt!) so I think you don't share suppliers :D –  belisarius Nov 22 '10 at 3:56
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Surely it's also possible to simply put chips into a bag until it's the right weight? This seems like it might be overly cynical. More likely it's just salty because crumbles tend to include proportionally more salt from the surfaces of the chips. –  Jefromi Nov 22 '10 at 4:01
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Do you have anything at all to support this "fact"? I've actually seen the machines that bag chips like this, they use very accurate scales and they fill them equal to or greater than their marked weight. There is no special "salt adding" process in the examples I've seen. Also, the weight of the bag has nothing to do with the size of the chips, at least not in the way you allude to you in your fun fact. –  hobodave Nov 24 '10 at 0:31
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