Crispy fried tostadas with hot, creamy beans and crunchy cold toppings. Like a party-salad on an edible plate - easy and delicious casual dinner, lunch or snack.
Makes 12 tostadas
12 corn tortillas
Canola or other flavorless oil
4 ounces queso blanco, queso fresco or Monterrey jack cheese, shredded
About 3/4 cup Roasted Tomatillo Salsa (or store-bought is fine)
About 1 1/2 cups green cabbage that has been shredded (cut into chiffonade)
8 red radishes, diced small
1. Be sure your tortillas are dry - if they're wet or icy, they will spatter dangerously (and messily) when they hit the oil. Blot them with paper towels as needed, or set them directly on the rack in a low oven (~200 degrees) for a few minutes to dry. If you dry them in the oven, keep an eye on them - if they over-dry they'll begin to break and won't make nice whole tostadas.
2. Warm 1 Tablespoon of oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add the beans and warm them with the lid askew until bubbly, stirring occasionally as needed to prevent the beans from sticking, about 10 minutes. Beans should be a spreadable consistency, like creamy mashed potatoes. If they are too thick or dry, stir in a little water. Taste and add salt if needed. When beans are ready, put the lid on securely and turn the heat off.
3. Pour the oil to a depth of 1/4 inch in a saucepan (or a wide saute pan if you plan to fry more than one at a time), and set it over medium-high heat to warm for about 5 minutes, until it seems to shimmer. Oil is ready when the edge of a tortilla dipped briefly into it bubbles quickly and vigorously. Do not allow the oil to smoke. Set up a plate or baking sheet lined with paper towels near the stove on which to drain the finished tostadas.
4. Use tongs to fry the tortillas in the oil until crisp and lightly browned, turning them as needed to cook evenly. Cooking time will be about 1 - 1.5 minutes per tortilla or batch. As the tostadas are finished, use the tongs to remove them from the oil, allowing excess oil to drip back into the pan. Lay the finished tostadas on the paper towels, blotting the tops of them with more paper towels as needed. (See How to Make Tostadas for pictures and more detailed instructions.)
5. When you are ready to serve, set cheese, salsa, cabbage and radishes out for your guests or family to serve themselves. Check the beans to be sure they are hot (rewarm them if needed), and check and adjust the seasoning one more time. Transfer them to a serving dish with a lid and set them out with the other toppings. Have your guests spread the beans on their own tostadas and choose toppings as desired (we like to put the cheese directly on the hot beans so it can melt a little). Tostadas are casual food and should be eaten as soon as they are prepared, so your guests can enjoy the combination of crispy tortillas, with hot, creamy beans and cold crunchy toppings in every bite.
Tostadas are an easy and fairly quick weeknight dinner. Just heat up the beans while the tostadas are frying, and if your salsa is pre-made you can have dinner on the table in about 15-20 minutes flat.
You can fry the tostadas ahead of time and store them in a zip-top bag for a few days.