I'm not sure why I've never cooked tostadas before: They're effortless, are open to invention, taste warm and crunchy, and can be made in about 15 minutes. Essentially an overloaded taco--tortilla topped with meat or beans, perhaps a bit of cheese, then salsa of some kind--baked flat in the oven until crisp. When it comes out, you can top it with pico de gallo or perhaps some guacamole, maybe a little crumbly queso fresco or a squeeze of lime. And definitely a sprinkle of salt. The interplay between hot and cool, the balance of savory warm filling, and the spicy bite of a good salsa--all good things.
The idea came from Everyday Food, a handy little magazine that's the size of a novella and packed with simple ideas. The recipes are not always the most ambitious, but they're usually spot-on, quite healthy, and fresh. I tried the Black Bean Tostadas with Corn Relish, and though next time I'd probably try another recipe with more flavor to it (this particular one with grilled flank steak, zucchini, and radishes looks good), the tostada wheels are now rolling. I'm thinking about chorizo or leftover roast chicken or even some blanched kale. Anybody have any particular recipes or combinations they like?
- 2 limes
- 2 scallions, thinly sliced
- 10 ounces frozen corn (one package)
- 3 tablespoons neutral oil
- 1 jalapeño, minced
- 1 pint grape tomatoes, halved
- 8 ounces Monterey Jack cheese
- 4 flour tortillas
- 1 can black beans
- 1 avocado
Rinse the frozen corn with water until thawed, then drain well and toss with scallions and 1 tablespoon oil. In a separate bowl, toss the halved tomatoes with the minced jalapeño. Season both to taste. If possible, complete these steps in the morning then refrigerate, so the flavors have time to mingle.
Preheat the oven to 475 F. Lay the tortillas out on a baking sheet and brush both sides with remaining oil. Drain and rinse beans, and sprinkle over tortillas. (I might experiment with some dried cumin or chili powder on the beans). Top with tomato salsa and cheese, and bake for ten minutes, or until crispy and golden on the edges.
While the tostadas cook, cut the avocado into chunks. Top cooked tostadas with the corn relish and avocado, and a sprinkle of salt. Serve immediately.