Flat crispy tortillas piled high with flavorful fillings, tostadas are easy to make at home, though for this recipe you’ll need to start the beans about 3 hours before serving them. Or, even better, cook the beans the night before you prepare the tostadas and you’ll get dinner on the table in about half an hour. If you are short on time, you can find crispy tortillas at most supermarkets near the tortillas. For a great party snack, make mini tostadas by using small round tortilla chips.
Shrimp Tostadas with Beans and Guacamole
For the pinto beans:
2 Tbs. lard or canola oil
1/2 white onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 jalapeño chile, thinly sliced into rings
1 lb. (500 g) pinto beans, picked over and rinsed
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
Canola oil for frying
8 corn tortillas, each about 5 inches (13 cm)
24 medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
1 Tbs. chili powder
2 tsp. ground cumin
1/2 cup (2 1/2 oz./75 g) crumbled queso fresco
1 cup (8 oz./250 g) of your favorite salsa
1/4 cup (1/3 oz./10 g) loosely packed fresh cilantro leaves
To make the pinto beans, in a large pot with a tight-fitting lid over medium-high heat, melt the lard. Add the onion and sauté until soft and golden brown, 6 to 8 minutes. Add the garlic and jalapeño and sauté just until soft, about 1 minute. Add the beans and enough cold water to cover by 2 inches (5 cm).
Bring the water to a boil, then reduce the heat to low, cover and simmer until the beans are tender, about 2 1/2 hours. Check the pot once in a while to make sure that the beans are still covered with water, adding a little more if needed.
Uncover the pot and season the beans with salt and pepper. (You may be surprised by how much salt you need to add to get the flavors to pop.) Cook, uncovered, for about 20 minutes to allow the sauce to thicken and the seasonings to blend. Keep warm until serving, or store, covered, in the refrigerator for up to 3 days, reheating the beans before serving them.
To make the tostadas, pour oil into a small fry pan over medium-high heat to a depth of 1/2 inch (12 mm) and heat to 350°F (180°C) on a deep-frying thermometer. (If you don’t have a thermometer, your best test is to dip the edge of a tortilla into the oil; it should sizzle immediately and vigorously.)
Using tongs, add the tortillas, 1 at a time, to the hot oil and fry, turning once, until crispy, about 1 minute per side. Transfer to a plate lined with paper towels to drain. Sprinkle with salt while the tortillas are still warm.
Warm a grill pan or a cast-iron fry pan over high heat. In a bowl, toss the shrimp with 1 Tbs. oil, the chili powder and cumin. Season with salt and add to the hot pan. Grill or sear, turning once, until the shrimp are bright pink and opaque throughout, about 2 minutes per side. Transfer to a plate and set aside.
To assemble the tostadas, put 2 tortillas on each of 4 individual plates and layer on the toppings in this order: guacamole, pinto beans, shrimp, queso fresco and salsa. Garnish with the cilantro and serve immediately. Serves 4.
For this and more ideas for tacos you’ll want to serve every night of the week,
check out our new Taco Night, by Kate McMillan.