Homemade tostadas are as much fun to make as they are to eat, and an easy way to turn dinnertime into party time. Corn tortillas misted with vegetable oil spray and baked until crispy stand in for fried tostada shells to cut down on the fat. Pile them on a plate, surround with fresh, healthful toppings, and invite guests to create their own mini works of edible art.
The main ingredient in this recipe from “Trejo’s Cantina,”actor-turned restaurateur Danny Trejo’s second cookbook, is Chicken Tinga, lean skinless chicken thighs simmered in chipotle-spiked tomato sauce until tender, then shredded as you would pulled-pork barbecue. It’s equally good tucked into tortillas for tacos or burritos or served atop white rice. (For a vegan option, Trejo suggests draining two 20-ounce cans of jackfruit in brine to substitute for the chickenand increasing the cooking time to about 45 minutes to allow the meaty-tasting fruit to break down). Makes 12 tostadas. RECIPE HERE. – Susan Puckett
Quick Pickled Red Onions:
- 1 medium red onion, thinly sliced
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ¾ cup cider or distilled white vinegar
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- ½ medium white onion, thinly sliced
- 2 or 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 ½ pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs
- 1 (15-ounce) can tomato sauce
- 3 tablespoons chopped canned chipotle peppers in adobo sauce
- Salt to taste
Baked Tostada Shells:
- 12 (6-inch) corn tortillas
- Nonstick vegetable oil spray
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 cup sour cream or Greek yogurt
- ½ cup chopped cilantro
- ½ medium white onion, diced
- Make the Quick Pickled Onions: Place the onions in a glass jar, sprinkle with salt, add the vinegar, and close the lid tightly. Shake and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
- Make the Chicken Tinga: In a large skillet with a lid, heat the oil over medium heat until shimmering. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until soft and translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook another minute.
- Increase the heat to medium-high and add the chicken Cook, without stirring, to lightly brown the chicken pieces, about 3 minutes. Add the tomato sauce and chipotles, reduce the heat to medium-low, and cover with the lid.
- Allow the mixture to simmer, stirring occasionally, until the meat is very tender and shreddable, about 20 minutes. Taste and season with a little salt, if desired.
- Remove from the heat and shred the chicken with two forks, pulling in opposite directions with the fork tines.
- Bake the Tostada Shells:While the chicken simmers, preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Arrange the tortillas in a single layer on baking sheets, mist on both sides with cooking spray, and sprinkle lightly with salt. Bake for 5 minutes, flip the tortillas over, and bake 5 to 10 minutes longer until golden brown and crispy.
- To assemble the tostadas: Top each tostada shellwith about ¼ cup of the chicken tinga, a dollop of sour cream or yogurt, pickled onions, cilantro, and white onion. Serve immediately.
Susan Puckett is a cookbook author and former food editor of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Follow her at susanpuckett.com.