Tostadas

My good friend Cathy makes the very best authentic Mexican dishes.  It’s what she has been cooking all of her life.  One of my favorites are her tostadas.  So good!  Of course she makes her own tortillas, which I only attempted once and failed miserably at.  It’s much easier to buy them at the grocery.  I’ve always wanted to try making her tostadas (with store bought tortillas) and finally asked me her to share her recipe with me.  Just like McDonalds has a recipe for special sauce, she does as well.  The secret ingredient in her sauce is pickled pigs feet.  An ingredient not easily found where I live.  Several stores later I hit the jackpot and now I know where to go.

I looked up tostada and it means “toasted” in Spanish.  Tostadas are made with tortillas that have been deep fried or toasted, usually corn tortillas.  They used to be made from tortillas that  were no longer fresh enough to be used for tacos, but took on a new life when they were fried.  Maybe that’s also how corn chips and nachos originated.  Tostadas can be made with any of the toppings you might use for tacos.  One locale in Mexico is famous for pizza sized tostadas called tlayudo which are topped with fried grasshoppers.

Because tostadas are made on fried tortillas they are somewhat fragile so you will want a base that is pasty enough to hold the other toppings in place.

Ingredients:

Tortillas (I used flour because that’s what I had on hand)

Vegetable oil for frying

Chorizo

Pinto beans

Onion

Cheese (I used a sharp cheddar)

Diced tomatoes

Pickled pigs feet

Oregano and garlic powder to taste

Heat your oil in a heavy skillet and deep fry the tortillas.  Drain on paper towel.

Add a little oil to a skillet and cook the chorizo with diced onions until the meat is no longer pink.  The chorizo I get is a little spicy and seasoned well so I did not add any additional spice.  If I were using ground beef or pork I would add cumin, chili powder, and oregano along with salt and pepper to taste.

Drain the beans and add to the onion and meat mixture.  Allow them to cook together and then mash the beans.  If necessary, add a little broth to keep the meat and beans from drying out.

While that’s cooking, dice up the jar of pickled pigs feet taking care to remove any bones.  I dumped the contents of the jar into my mesh strainer allowing the liquid to drain off and worked from there.

Purée the tomatoes in a blender or food processor.  I think I made a mistake here and added the pickled pigs feet to the blender along with the tomatoes.  I should have just blended the tomatoes and stirred in the finely diced pigs feet.  It made the color of the sauce a little off putting.  However I don’t think it changed the flavor profile.  Add oregano and garlic powder to taste.

Shred your cheese.  You can use cheese that you purchase already shredded, but I think when you shred it yourself it melts better and actually has more flavor.

Now you’re ready to assemble your  tostadas.  The first layer is your meat and bean mixture.  Then the sauce.

Choose whatever toppings you want to add and then cheese.

I put the assembled tostada in the microwave for 30 seconds to melt the cheese a little.  I served ours with avocado, lettuce and a little lime.

I don’t know what is proper, using your hands or silverware.  We used silverware.  They were excellent eaten with a knife and fork but might taste better using your hands!  Even the “I won’t eat pickled pigs feet folk” will like them.  It is a special sauce.  The ingredients can be the cook’s secret.  Thank you Cathy for sharing.  Enjoy your tostadas with a cold beer.  Cheers.

NOTE:  Use any toppings you like.  Diced tomatoes, guacamole, sour cream, jalapeños, diced onion.  You’re only limited by your imagination.

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