Building a Perfect Tostado

Part I: Don't overdose on calories and saturated fat when baking the tortillas brings results almost as perfect as deep-frying! Lightly oil both sides of several small corn tortillas - however many tostados you wish to make - and place them on a large baking sheet. Use two smaller baking sheets if needed. Toast in a pre-heated 400 degree F. oven for 5 minutes. Flip the tortillas and toast another 5-8 minutes. Check them often in the final minutes as they have a tendency to burn. You can do this part up to a day in advance; just store the completely cooled tortillas in a sealed plastic bag. When you're ready to eat, preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Top each toasted tortilla with 2-4 T. of beans - pinto, black, whole or re-fried. (Above, we used slow-simmered pinto beans seasoned with ancho chile powder, onions, garlic and tomatoes.) Now lightly top the beans with some grated cheese, again your choice: Cheddar, Monterrey Jack, smoked Gouda are all appropriate.

Part II: Bake the tostados just until the cheese is melted and bubbling. Remove promptly from the oven and top with shredded cabbage, sliced fresh or pickled jalapeno peppers, and diced red onion. Drop a heaving teaspoon or two of sour cream on each. Drizzle all with your favorite hot sauce.

Part III: Eat with your hands, like a slice of pizza, but keep a fork handy to scrape up all the delicious tidbits from the plate. At Cafe Drake HRV we rounded out the tostado meal with roasted veggies tossed with cumin and oregano.


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