The Swimmer, pastel on paper, 30 x 41 inches
At the end of a summer day, perhaps after a swim at the pond, I crave something savory with a spicy kick for supper. I’ve made tostadas for years and never tire of their crisp, smooth, crunchy combination of tortillas, beans, cheese and salsa. As you know from my posts, I have been receiving quarterly shipments of beans from Rancho Gordo and have upped our bean consumption. I cook them with a piece of kombu (seaweed) and find this prevents any unpleasant bean gas experiences. Plus, I think the more beans we eat the more accustomed our digestive systems are to them.
Anyway, here’s what I did:
First I prepared the tortillas ─ 2-3 per person. In a small skillet just bigger than the tortillas I heated sunflower oil ─ about a 1/4 cup ─ until almost smoking. In went a corn tortilla, the oil bubbling and splattering (be careful). I turned each with tongs and cooked until crisp and brown. Drain on paper towels or a grocery bag cut open.
I had cooked pintos in the freezer so that part was easy. Check out my book for a method of cooking dried beans. If you must use canned, rinse them well. In a tablespoon of sunflower oil, I sauteed a chopped large clove of garlic until it was translucent then added the drained beans ─ about two cups. Using the terrific wooden bean masher I had bought from RG I worked the beans to a semi-smooth paste, adding bean cooking liquid when the mixture got dry. I tasted for salt and added a tablespoon of pureed chipotle pepper.
Next I made the salsa. I have been loving the mangoes available in the market and imagined their sweetness against the chilés, beans and cheese in a tostada. I make a tomato, peach or cantaloupe salsa with about the same ingredients so choose your favorite fruit.
To the peeled, sliced, diced and lightly mashed mango I added a good squeeze of lime, a minced pickled jalapeño, a chopped green onion and a handful of cilantro.
To assemble the tostadas, I had ready some grated cheese ─ I used Catamount but Jack or another favorite would be delicious. Spread the warm beans on the crisp tortillas, topped with the cheese and warmed in the toaster oven until the cheese was well-melted.
I garnished the tostadas with salsa, avocado slices and a dab of sour cream leftover from cake baking.
A tart salad is a welcome sidekick to these savory, rich disks of deliciousness. I combined shredded red and green cabbage from Zweck’s with julienned jicama.
For a dressing I simply added the juice of a lime, salt and pepper, and a little olive oil. If I hadn’t made the mango salsa I would have added a sliced peach to the salad.