When I need a surefire hit for dinner I don’t have to look any further than tostadas topped with chicken and black beans.
Everyone in my family is a big fan of Mexican and Tex Mex, and tostadas are always happily greeted by guests—it’s lively food that instantly turns dinner into a party.
WHAT IS A TOSTADA?
A tostada can refer to a fried tortilla by itself, though often (as in this case) it refers to the Mexican dish made with a fried tostada at its base and toppings piled on top.
Corn tortillas provide great flavor and crunch, and are usually gluten-free (but check the label to be sure). There are also some tortillas on the market that are made with a combo of corn and flour, which I really like. Straight flour tortillas would also work, if you prefer (you may have to reduce the frying time), but corn are more traditional.
Tostadas typically involve layering ingredients on top of the fried tostada: meat or protein such as chicken or beans, salad components like shredded lettuce and diced tomato, and maybe some of the toppings that you’d expect to see on top of a taco, such as cheese or sour cream.
I’ve picked a combo of chicken and beans along with an assortment of classic Tex-Mex toppings such as tomatoes, avocado, and cheese. But the main points of interest really come in the form of the vinaigrette, a zippy dressing with a little optional heat from chipotles in adobo, and then the crema topping—a creamy mix of sour cream, lime, and cilantro.
How to Make Easy Poached Chicken
The chicken for this recipe is quickly cooked in water, an easy technique called poaching. You can poach in plain water, but for more flavorful chicken, try adding seasoning to the poaching liquid.
For this recipe, try whole peppercorns, sprigs of fresh thyme or oregano, bay leaves, whole garlic cloves or halved shallots, and lemon slices. (When poaching chicken for different recipes, you might change up the seasonings to match the flavors in that recipe.)
The liquid left from cooking the chicken breasts won’t be flavored deeply enough to act as chicken stock on its own, but you can use it for things such as cooking rice or grains to infuse them with a bit of brothy flavor. Or freeze it, and use it to poach again another day!
HOW TO SERVE THE TOSTADAS
This recipe is a combo of hot and cool, with the beans warm from the pan, and the rest of ingredients at room temperature or chilled. If you prefer you can serve the whole thing at room temperature, allowing the beans to cool before assembling. This is also useful if you are making the tostadas for a party.
Tostadas are usually piled fairly high, so they call for a knife and fork, especially because you want to try and get some of everything, including the crispy tortilla at the base, in every bite.
But if you’re eating with family or good friends, I think there’s nothing wrong with using those last few pieces of tortilla to scoop up the rest of the toppings that surely be strewn across your plate.
MORE EASY WEEKNIGHT MEXICAN RECIPES!