Make It Mexican With Roland: Tostadas
"Oh, you eat it with your hands, you've just got to commit. You gotta be ready to get messy," Roland says, holding his hands up, both as a dramatic gesture and an explanatory one. Outside of needing a lot--like, a lot--of napkins, tostadas aren't a fussy meal. They're incredibly easy to make and don't require hours of prep like some of our previous Make it Mexican dishes. But Roland stresses that because there are so few ingredients, they must be of high quality and fresh. The kind of meat and tortillas you decide to use will separate making an incredible dinner from picking up a tasteless and brittle snack at Taco Bell.
Step 1: Gather Your Ingredients
The tortillas are pretty much everything--they need to be able to hold up the other ingredients without getting soggy. Roland and his father make their own by taking a thick-cut corn tortilla and frying it in vegetable oil until golden brown. They then let them air dry on paper towels and voila! Once the tortillas have cooled they will be nice and crunchy. If you're not feeling that ambitious, you can purchase the hard shells at the store, but try to make it to a Mexican market where chances are higher that someone there has fried them up.
Next, get your beans. Roland doesn't place too much weight on the beans in this recipe. "You can make your own refried beans," he says, "but canned will do just fine too." Either way you go, try smoothing them out in a blender before you heat them. Making the beans a creamier texture will allow for them to holds things together like a paste.
For your garnishes, finely chop iceberg lettuce or cabbage and slice some tomatoes.
Step 2: Prepare the Meat
If the tortillas are the most important ingredient, the meat is the second. Roland prefers to use chicken, but mentions that pork is also popular. If you really like shredded or ground beef tostadas don't let Mexican traditionalism stop you, but make sure that the meat is nice and seasoned.
A full chicken breast should make eight to ten tostadas. Begin by slicing the breast in half and submerging each piece in a pot of water. Then flavor with a sliced head of garlic, half a white onion, one whole tomato (just drop that bitch in there), and a tablespoon of salt. Place your pot on boil until the chicken is fully cooked--165 degrees in the center. When you think your chicken is just about done, add a pinch of Mexican oregano.
Next, fish your breasts out of the pot and shred them on a plate, discarding any bits or bones. Remember to save the water and add the chicken back in once shredded. This will keep it moist until you use all of it--just scoop the chunks out as you make tostadas and save the broth to make chicken noodle soup or pho later.
Or just drink the broth. Really, you're going to want to - it's that good.
Step 3: Assemble the Tostada
If you're trying to look like a fancy pants and plate up the tostadas for guests, Roland suggest putting a thin layer of beans under the tortillas so that they'll be held in place. Then dollop some more beans on top and smooth them out until they cover the entire tortilla. Next add a heaping pile of chicken, followed by a handful of lettuce, and a sprinkling of sliced tomatoes.
If your partial--and you should be--also add a few scoops of sour cream and slices of avocado. Last, pour on a salsa that you prefer. Roland recommends getting a recipe for salsa de niño (if you have baby taste buds) and salsa de aciete (if you want to grow some chest hair)--but no Pace allowed! After all, Roland says, "Great food is really simple, just make it with good ingredients and care."