Tostada is the Spanish word for toasted. It can refer to a slice of toasted bread, a fried plantain or a toasted flat bread; it all depends on which Spanish speaking country is using the word. In Mexico we are referring to a toasted corn tortilla when we use the word tostada.
Typically Mexican tostadas (plural of tostada) are made by deep frying a corn tortilla until it is nice and crispy, but you can also pop them into the oven and bake until crispy. Once the excess oil is allowed to drain off then it can be topped with just about anything your heart desires. They can be as simple as a smearing of salsa or crema, a slathering of refried beans or a small mound of your meat of choice. Depending on what the tostada gets decorated with, it can become anything from a snack, to an accompaniment to a full meal. The options are endless and that is why tostadas are a great item to keep stocked in the pantry.
I previously mentioned how tostadas are made, but they can also be purchased at the grocery store. Since I live in Mexico I of course have a great selection of brands so I don’t make them at home any more. If you have extra corn tortillas that need to be used up then tostadas is a great option. Either fry them in a bit of oil or stick them in the oven — I always choose the oven method for a healthier option. If you would like to purchase them check out these options or look for them in the hispanic food isle in your grocery store.
The tostadas you see before you were a complete meal for hubby and I. They are filling enough for our main meal of the day, yet light enough that they didn’t leave us with that oppressive heavy meal feeling. The shrimps were cooked with a little secret ingredient called verdolagas in Spanish and purslane in English. This green plant is considered a weed in the US but eaten in many regions of the world. It has a tangy taste that reminds me a bit of lemon, which is why I though to pair it with the shrimp — it worked fantastic. The salsa I can describe to you as spicy, smokey, salty and right down delicious. My plan was to also cook the serrano peppers, you see in the pictures, with the shrimps but when I tasted the chipotle salsa I knew they wouldn’t be needed.
Enjoy the recipes!
- 1 small can of chipotle peppers in adobo sauce
- 2 medium roma tomatoes, charred
- half of one extra small onion, charred
- 2 garlic cloves, charred
- ¼ tsp of ground cinnamon
- large pinch of fine sea salt
- large handful of cilantro leaves
- Mexican tostadas
- 500 gm of shrimp, peeled and cleaned (if use large shrimp then cut up to make biting into easier)
- 4 cloves of garlic, minced
- large handful of verdolaga or purslane leaves
- large pinch of fine sea salt
- 1-2 tbsp olive oil
- freshly chopped cilantro, to top
- Heat a griddle or large frying pan. Once hot place the tomatoes, onion and garlic onto it. Allow all three to char on all sides until they become soft. The garlic and onion will likely be ready before the tomatoes, keep an eye on them so as not to burn. Once charred set aside to cool until you can handle them. Peel off the charred bits and skin from the tomato, scrape the charred sections of the onion and garlic. Then place them along with all other ingredients into a blender, add the cilantro last or on top of other ingredients. Blend until smooth, then set aside until ready to use.
- If you are using large shrimp, cut them into smaller pieces to make eating easier. Heat the oil and once warm sauté the garlic over low heat. Next add the shrimp, salt and verdolaga leaves and cook until shrimp are firm and pink. This should only take a few minutes. Serve on top of tostadas and dress with freshly chopped cilantro and chipotle salsa.
Today I also want to tell you about a very special 3 year old princess name Harleigh. She is a fellow blogger’s, Mark of Javelin Warrior’s Cooking w/Luv, niece. This brave little girl and her family really need our help right now. This is why, “On a routine medical checkup for a possible ear infection, doctors discovered a Glioblastoma tumor growing down through Harleigh’s brain. She has undergone biopsy and surgery, suffered a stroke that crippled her right side and is currently undergoing chemo therapy to prevent future regrowth or spread of the tumor. Followup radiation and ongoing physical therapy will likely be necessary.”
Mark and Harleigh’s family are raising funds to help pay for her medical bills. There are many ways we can help. The family has created a Give Forward page to collect donations. Remember any donation will greatly help the family. Then there’s also the #Help4Harleigh Online Bake Sale which starts February 18,2014 and you can either donate baked goods, new cookware, new cookbooks and/or bid on items. Another great way to help is to spread the word to anyone you know — online and in real life too.
For full details on Harleigh’s story and how to help, please visit Mark’s blog.