I’m going to be brief and to the point. It’s Monday. Some of you are going meatless. I tried to get this posted in enough time for you to run to the grocery store and gather up the ingredients because it is SO good. But if not, make it next Monday.
Why? How about a crispy corn tortillas topped with a cumin-y black bean mixture, topped with a vinegar-y cabbage slaw, topped with an avocado-y salsa, topped with pickled onions? If you add an extra sprinkle of queso fresco cheese, it takes this dinner from a “Top 10 of All Time” to a “Top 5 of All Time” according to my list-loving husband. I actually opted to take all those delicious toppings and put them over this rice but Randy had no problem eating 3 tostadas on his own and rejoiced to know that there were leftovers.
A couple of notes. If you are not familiar with epazote, it is an herb often found in Mexican cooking. I have never tasted it fresh – dried it reminds me of a cross between oregano and dill. I think it is delicious but it can be hard to find. I’ve ordered it from Penzey’s but you can also just substitute dried oregano. The cabbage slaw can be made hours ahead of time and stored, covered, in the refrigerator. The beans can be made hours ahead too – you just may need to add a little water to loosen them up when you reheat them. I would wait to make the salsa until right before serving because otherwise it gets a little watery. Finally, yes, those are the same onions found on the Fideos. Why not make a big batch and have a double meatless Mexican week?
One Year Ago: Butterscotch Spiral Coffee Cake
Black Bean Tostadas with Slivered Cabbage, Avocado, and Pickled Onions
Adapted from Vegetarian Suppers from Deborah Madison’s Kitchen
Don’t let the length of this recipe or all the different parts scare you off. Each part is fast and easy. If you prefer, you can heat the tortillas on the stovetop in a skillet or griddle. I prefer to use the oven method because you can use less oil (you can really use none) and you can heat more of them at once.
Pickled Onions (recipe follows)
2 tsp. vegetable oil
1 small onion, diced
1 tsp. ground cumin
1½ tsp. dried epazote
1 garlic clove, minced
1 15-oz. can black beans, rinsed and drained
The Cabbage Slaw
6 cups finely sliced green cabbage
4 scallions, thinly sliced
2 pinches of dried oregano
2 tbsp. chopped cilantro
1/3 cup white wine vinegar or lime juice (DT: I used a combination)
1/3 cup boiling water
The Tortillas and Garnishes
8 corn tortillas
2 small avocados, peeled and sliced
Crumbled queso fresco or feta cheese
½ cup sour cream, thinned with a little milk
Salsa Cruda (recipe follows)
1. Make the pickled onions and let them stand while you get everything else ready. (Remember, they can be made up to 5 days in advance.)
2. Heat the oil in a skillet and add the chopped onion, cumin, and epazote. Cook over medium-low heat, stirring frequently, until the onion starts to brown, 3 to 4 minutes, then add the garlic and cook for 1 minutes more.
3. Add the beans and a bit of water and cook, mashing the beans slightly until they are somewhat smooth but still have plenty of texture and are not soupy. Season with salt and keep warm, or reheat as necessary.
4. Toss the cabbage with a few pinches of salt and the scallions. Add the rest of the salad ingredients, toss well, and refrigerate until ready to use.
5. Lightly brush the tortillas with oil and bake in a 400°F oven until crisp and starting to brown, 6 to 8 minutes.
6. Put 2 tortillas on each plate and spread the warm beans over each. Mound the cabbage on top, add the avocado, cheese, a drizzle of sour cream, and the pickled onions. Pass salsa at the table.
1 small red onion, thinly sliced into rounds
1 tsp. sugar
Apple cider vinegar or rice wine vinegar
Toss the onion rounds with a pinch of salt and the sugar. Put them in a bow with vinegar to cover; they’ll turn bright pink in about 15 minutes. They will keep for about 5 days in the refrigerator.
Salsa Cruda with Avocado
Makes about 1 cup
5 plum tomatoes or 3 ripe medium tomatoes
¼ cup finely diced red or white onion
1 jalapeño chile, finely diced and seeded if you want less heat
12 cilantro sprigs, chopped
1 avocado, finely diced
Finely chopped chipotle chile to taste (optional)
Juice of 1 lime or splash of beer
Halve the tomatoes lengthwise, squeeze out the seeds, then chop the flesh into small pieces. Put the tomato in a bowl with the onion, chile, cilantro, and avocado. Add lime juice or a splash of beer and season with salt to taste.