Tag Archives: tortilla

Ham and bean tostada

Ham and bean tostada

Ham and beans are a classic soup combination. And beans suggest to me a possible tostada. Here is a ham and bean tostada with the tortilla topped with a ham, carrot, and bean mixture made much like the soup but without the excess broth.

As with the New Orleans tostada I’m using canned beans rather than going through the effort of using dry beans. The beans I found were simply labeled white beans, but great northern beans or navy beans are very similar. Ham and bean soups typically have carrots, so those are included as well.

For the ham, I found a small bag of cubed ham which was just perfect. Some markets sell individual ham steaks which could be cut into cubes. Or you could get a very thick slice of ham at the deli counter.

For topping the frittata, I chose to add more ham and sliced carrots (raw here, of coures). And for the vinaigrette, vinegar is often served as a condiment with ham and bean soup. So I made the proportion vinegar higher than in a typical vinaigrette and included no additional flavorings, as I wanted the vinegar to be the focus. I think that worked well.

Ham and bean tostada

1 can great northern, navy, or other white beans, drained and rinsed
1/4 cup carrots, small pieces
1/4 cup ham, small cubes
1/4 cup chopped onion
1 clove garlic, minced
chicken broth
1/4 teaspoon white pepper
1 bay leaf

2 corn tortillas

romaine lettuce, chopped
ham, cubes or other small pieces
carrots, sliced

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon red wine vinegar

Saute the onion in oil, adding garlic for the last minute. Add 1/2 cup chicken broth, ham, carrots, and spices. Cook for 30 minutes, adding more chicken broth as necessary to just keep from drying out.

Heat a thin layer of oil in a pan. When the oil is hot, put in a tortilla, cook for about 30 seconds on each side until it starts to crisp up. You want it a little crispy but not as hard as a tortilla chip. Repeat with the second tortilla.

Put the tortillas side-by-side on a plate. Spread on a thin layer of the ham and bean mixture. Put the romaine, ham, and carrots on the beans. Whisk or shake in a small jar the oil and vinegar. Spoon the vinaigrette over the salad.

New Orleans tostada

New Orleans tostada

Once I got started with my unusual tostadas, I keep thinking about different kinds of beans and how they might be used to make a different kind of tostada. Red beans and rice is a staple in New Orleans and Louisiana. So my thinking was to use the red beans as a starting point for a New Orleans tostada.

My first idea was to top the tostada with Cajun shrimp. Can’t get much more New Orleans than that. But then I had the idea of andouille sausage, very much associated with Cajun cuisine. Both sounded ideal and I couldn’t make a choice. So I didn’t. It’s the shrimp on one tortilla, the sausage on the other.

For the red beans, I used canned kidney beans, which some recipes call for. This seemed so much easier than starting with dry beans. I used the whole can of beans, which is more than I need for the tostada. But what else would I use the kidney beans for? I’ll eat the leftover red beans for lunch. The recipe for the red beans was adapted from a number of different recipes. But feel free to use your own approach and spices. I chose to remove the casing before chopping up the sausage, but that certainly is not necessary. I cooked the beans for at least a half hour before starting the sausage, shrimp, and tortillas, so they cooked for at least 40 minutes. Cooking this long (or longer) makes the beans softer, but this is not necessary.

For the shrimp, I used McCormick’s Cajun seasoning and followed a recipe from their website. Again, I am choosing the easiest way, but you could certainly follow a more authentic recipe.

The amounts of cayenne pepper in the beans and the vinaigrette make this moderately spicy. Use more or less to suit your taste.

New Orleans tostada

1 can kidney beans, drained and rinsed
1 andouille sausage, chopped up
1/2 cup chopped onion
1/2 cup green pepper, diced
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
chicken broth
olive oil

1 andouille sausage cut into bite-sized pieces
olive oil

4–6 shrimp, depending on size
1 teaspoon Cajun seasoning

2 tortillas
olive oil
romaine lettuce, chopped into smaller pieces

3 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper

To make the red beans, start by browning the sausage in some olive oil. Add the onions and green pepper and cook over medium heat until soft, adding the garlic for the last minute. Add the kidney beans, cayenne pepper,  and 1/2 cup chicken broth. Cook covered at a low simmer for half an hour, stirring occasionally, adding more chicken broth as needed to keep it from getting dry.

Brown the pieces of the second sausage in olive oil. Remove from the pan and wipe out the pan. Melt butter in the pan. Put the shrimp and Cajun seasoning in a small plastic bag and shake to coat the shrimp with the seasoning. Cook the shrimp in the butter until pink on both sides, no more than about 3 minutes. Remove from the pan.

Wipe out the pan again. Heat a thin layer of oil in the pan. When the oil is hot, put in a tortilla, cook for about 30 seconds on each side until it starts to crisp up. You want it a little crispy but not as hard as a tortilla chip. Repeat with the second tortilla.

Place the tortillas side-by-side. Top with a layer of the red beans. Add the romaine. Whisk or shake in a small jar the oil, vinegar, and pepper. Spoon over the romaine. Put the andouille sausage on one tortilla and the shrimp on the other.

Asian tostada

Asian tostada

After having the idea of using hummus instead of refried beans to make a tostada, producing my Greek tostada, the floodgates opened as I then thought up all sorts of other tostada variants using every type of bean I could think of. This is my next creation, using edamame atop the tortillas. Naturally, this led me to develop an Asian-themed tostada.

When I first had the idea of using edamame, I wasn’t sure in what form I wanted to include it on the tostada. I considered leaving the beans whole or mashing them with a fork or potato masher. As I often do when I am looking for inspiration, I went online and started looking at recipes including edamame. I found a number of recipes for edamame dip. (Interestingly, they all want you to serve it with pita chips.) They all took pretty much the same approach, with variations on quantities and flavoring. But all involved processing the edamame in a food processor with olive oil and some type of citrus juice. So I went from there. Then there’s the questions of how thoroughly you want to process the edamame. I chose to do it enough so that all the beans were chopped up but leaving some texture to the resulting dip/spread. Obviously one can do more or less to taste.

I chose to do a soy-ginger vinaigrette, which I have made for the Asian salad, among others. When I made these and wanted fresh ginger for other recipes, I have used Gourmet Garden ginger paste that comes in a plastic tube, which I have found works well, is very convenient, and can keep in the refrigerator for a significant length of time. Sadly, my market no longer seems to carry the tubes of ginger, though they carry many other types. Then I noticed next to that a small container of lightly dried ginger from the same company. They claimed this would be refreshed in liquid. The ginger flavor it gave to the vinaigrette was fine, but I wasn’t especially impressed with the texture. I think the next time I need fresh ginger, if I can’t find the paste in a tube, I’ll have to get over my laziness, buy a piece of ginger, and grate it.

Asian tostada

1 cup cooked and shelled edamame
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons lime juice
i small clove garlic, pressed
fresh ground pepper

1 piece of boneless chicken breast in small bite-sized pieces
2 tablespoons chicken broth
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1/2 teaspoon corn starch
1/8 teaspoon ground ginger
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
vegetable oil

2 corn tortillas
vegetable oil

baby spinach, chopped
3–4 scallions, sliced, including lots of the green portions

3 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 tablespoon rice vinegar
2 teaspoons ginger
1 small clove garlic, minced or pressed (not all of a large clove)

Earlier in the day combine the edamame, olive oil, garlic, and about 1 tablespoon of the lime juice in a food processor and process until it gets to your desired texture, maybe 30 seconds. or so. Add more lime juice and process a bit more to get desired flavor and consistency. I made mine so it retained some texture and wasn’t completely smooth, but it’s your choice. Refrigerate. Remove from refrigerator a half hour to an hour before making the salad so it is not icy cold and is closer to room temperature.

Heat the oil and cook the chicken until nicely browned and cooked through. Combine the chicken broth, soy sauce, corn starch, ginger, and pepper and add to the chicken. Cook several minutes until the sauce starts to bubble and turns dark and shiny.

Heat a thin layer of oil in a pan. When the oil is hot, put in a tortilla, cook for about 30 seconds on each side until it starts to crisp up. You want it a little crispy but not as hard as a tortilla chip. Repeat with the second tortilla.

Put the tortillas side-by-side on a plate. Spread on a thin layer of the edamame mixture. Put the spinach, mushrooms, and scallions on the edamame, reserving much of the green parts of the scallions. Whisk or shake in a small jar the oil, vinegar, ginger, and garlic. Spoon the vinaigrette over the salad. Put the chicken pieces scattered on the salad and top with the remaining green parts of the scallions.

Greek chicken tostada

Greek chicken tostada

The idea for this salad came from a (very Mexican) tostada I had for lunch recently at the Huntington Library and Gardens near Pasadena. Most tostadas top the tortillas with the standard refried beans made with pinto beans. This tostada used black beans instead, making it distinctive and very good.

This got me thinking about whether some other types of beans might also be used to make a tostada. How about garbonzo beans/chickpeas? And you can buy this with the beans already mashed up and seasoned, ready to use: hummus.

Once I decided to make a tostada with hummus, an Eastern Mediterranean theme was obvious. I chose Greek, with feta cheese and Kalamata olives, but I wanted something else. Since I was already using one dip from that part of the world, I thought about tzatziki, the Greek yogurt and cucumber sauce/dip, which I really like. But it didn’t seem to be quite right putting dollops of tzatziki on the tostada. Instead, I put cucumber pieces on the salad and made a dressing based on the ingredients in tzatziki.

I started the dressing with my standard vinaigrette ingredients of 3 tablespoons olive oil and 1 tablespoon lemon juice, to which I added 2 tablespoons of Greek yogurt. This produces a slightly thickened dressing that you might call a tzatziki vinaigrette and would be one option. I decided I wanted a thicker, creamier dressing more like tzatziki and added a third tablespoon of yogurt and then a fourth. My suggestion is to proceed in this way, stopping when you get a consistency that you like.

I think the key to this salad is moderation and balance. You don’t want too much of any one ingredient such that it dominates.

Greek chicken tostada

4- or 5-ounce piece of chicken breast
2 corn tortillas
vegetable oil
spinach, chopped
1 cup (or so) cucumber, in small pieces
Kalamata olives, cut in half
feta cheese

3 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon lemon juice
2 to 4 tablespoons plain Greek yogurt
1 clove garlic, pressed
1/2 teaspoon finely chopped fresh dill

Bake the chicken breast in advance. When cool, pull it apart to make shredded chicken.

So the dressing can be well chilled, an hour or so before serving, mix the olive oil, lemon juice garlic, dill, and the yogurt. Start with 2 tablespoons yogurt and whisk everthing together to see the consistency. If desired, add more yogurt to get your preferred consistency. Refrigerate the dressing, as it should be well-chilled before serving.

Going in the other direction on temperature, I think the hummus and chicken, which will top the cooked tortillas, should be closer to room temperature, so take them out of the refrigerator an hour or so before making the salad.

Heat a thin layer of oil in a pan. When the oil is hot, put in a tortilla, cook for about 30 seconds on each side until it starts to crisp up. You want it a little crispy but not as hard as a tortilla chip. Repeat with the second tortilla.

Put the tortillas side-by-side on a plate. Spread on a thin layer of hummus. Add the shredded chicken, then the chopped spinach, and on top of that the cucumber pieces.

Whisk the previously made dressing and spoon on top the salad. Top with a sprinkling of crumbled feta cheese and the Kalamata olives.