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Dinner Tonight: Smothered Shrimp Tostadas

Right in the middle of August, I tend to coddle perfectly ripe tomatoes like rare jewels, being careful not to bruise or puncture them. That is, until I get home, turn the heat to high, and char their skins until black. This trick, which we can thank Mexico for, intensifies the flavor, lends a wonderful smoky note, and, you know, looks really cool.

No need to worry about burning your food; that's the point. The skins are peeled off and discarded and the tomatoes are blended with roasted garlic, chipotles, and red wine vinegar. The sauce is good to go.

You could mix anything with it, but this recipe from Lourdes Castro's Simply Mexican calls for shrimp, and it makes for a particularly striking tostada filling. It's sauteed briefly then covered with sauce, which bubbles furiously at first, then simmers down until it's thick and luscious. That's about it. Top a tostada with lettuce, some of the shrimp and sauce, a drizzle of crema, and a sprinkle of cilantro.

About those tostadas. Usually, I try to fry the corn tortillas myself but since I was running low on oil, I bought the pre-made kind at the grocery store. Though not ideal, they actually worked really well, providing just the right amount of crunch with surprisingly little grease.

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