I’ll never forget my first tostada. My family was invited over for supper by another family in our church. The other family had two boys, both close to my age (13. Isn’t 13 pretty much the worst age ever?). The mom of the other family was from Columbia and her food was incredible. I can still picture her frying the tortillas and pulling the big pan of shredded chicken out of the oven. Man, it was good.
(Her oldest kid sucked my hair up in their vacuum that afternoon. I’m still slightly bitter about that).
If you don’t know what a tostada is, it’s a corn tortilla, fried until crisp, then piled high with beans, meat (we like shredded chicken the best), cheese, salsa, sour cream and anything else you like.
They’re delicious and impossible to eat without making a huge mess. Keep the napkins handy!
I don’t have anything nutritionally against deep frying (if you use a healthy oil), it’s just that it’s so. Much. Work. And then you have a big pan of oil to throw away! It’s hot and messy, and not something I want to deal with. I’ve tried just baking corn tortillas, but they really do need oil to get really crispy (which is the best part of a tostada).
So I smear them with coconut oil (or palm shortening). It works perfectly, and is so much easier and faster than deep frying. In fact, if I have refried beans and chicken in the freezer, I can pull this whole meal together in 20 minutes. That’s not too shabby for real food! Now that they’re so quick and easy we have tostadas frequently.
Tostadas (the easy way)
Coconut oil or palm shortening
1. Preheat oven to 350. Place corn tortillas on a large pizza pan or cookie sheet. I usually bake three for David, two for everyone else I’m cooking for. Using your fingers, smear both sides of tortillas with coconut oil. You may need to squish it around in your warm hands for a few seconds to soften the coconut oil.
2. Bake in the preheated oven for 6 minutes, then flip tortillas over. Return to the oven for 6 more minutes. While the tortillas are baking heat the beans and chicken (season with taco seasoning), chop the veggies and set out the other toppings.
After 6 minutes they’re just starting to crisp up.
3. After baking the second 6 minutes, start watching very closely. They’ll take an additional 1-3 minutes, but they go from not done to over done in about 5 seconds, so stay close. As soon as they are browned and very crisp remove from oven. Sprinkle liberally with salt (this is crucial). Serve warm with all the toppings.
Notes: This is one of our favorite meals. You can vary the toppings according to what your family likes and/or what you have in your kitchen. I’ve also made these with black beans and those are delicious as well.
You can use a different oil to coat the tortillas. I like to use coconut oil or palm shortening because 1. They’re healthy fats. 2. They’re solid which means I can spread the oil with my fingers. I don’t have to get my pastry brush dirty like I would with a liquid oil.
Do you make tostadas?