Everybody loves tacos, but sometimes tostadas are even better: crispy, crunchy and spicy, with lots of room for fresh toppings. The only thing I don’t like about tostadas is that they’re messy and difficult to eat. I wanted to make my favorite bean and chorizo tostadas for a football watch party last Sunday, but tostadas are not exactly finger food. I decided to cut the tortillas in half before frying them, to make them easier to pick up. Everybody argued about whether these were mini tostadas or giant nachos, but they devoured them anyway!
To make these tostadas, start by cutting corn tortillas in half with a pizza cutter. This step is optional, but I think half tostadas are easier.
I’ve tried baking tostada shells in the past and they we all right, but tortillas crisp up best when fried in oil. The tortillas do absorb a bit of oil, but each half tostada shell only has about 65 calories. To fry the tortillas, cover the bottom of a large frying pan with oil to a depth of 1/2 inch. Heat the oil over medium high heat, to about 375 degrees. If you have a frying thermometer, that’s the best way to keep the oil at the optimal temperature. If the oil is not hot enough the tortillas will become greasy, and if it’s too hot they will burn.
At 375 degrees, you will see the oil start to shimmer on the surface. If you dip the edge of a tortilla into the oil and it starts to sizzle and bubble, the oil is hot enough for frying. Using tongs, carefully place a few tortilla halves into the oil. Fry for about a minute on each side, until browned and crispy.
Remove the tortillas from the oil and drain on paper towels. Sprinkle lightly with salt. Repeat this process until all the tortillas are fried. Sometimes, if they are a little underdone, fried corn tortillas can be chewy. If this happens, simply put them on a baking sheet and bake in a 350 degree oven for 5-8 minutes until they are completely crisp.
The bean and chorizo topping for these tostadas couldn’t be simpler. Start by cooking 1/2 pound of chorizo (Mexican pork sausage) in a frying pan with finely diced onion.
Cook over medium high heat until the chorizo is browned and cooked through. Add one can of refried beans, stir to blend, and cook until hot. I would recommend using fat free refried beans, because with the chorizo you don’t need any additional fat.
Put about 2 tablespoons of bean and chorizo filling on each tostada half, then add about a tablespoon of shredded Monterey Jack, Colby Jack, cheddar or queso fresco cheese.
For me, the next step is the most fun! I like to line up all the toppings in small bowls so each person can customize their own tostada. Some of our favorite toppings are pico de gallo, shredded lettuce, sliced jalapeno, sliced olives, sour cream and guacamole. Salsa, hot sauce or chopped fresh onion would also be perfect for topping these bean and chorizo tostadas. I picked up all the toppings and other ingredients at Smith’s, where I shop every week because of their great sale prices.
Whether you call them mini tostadas or giant nachos, these appetizer-sized bean and chorizo tostadas are perfect for parties or a quick and easy dinner.
Crispy Bean and Chorizo Tostadas
- 6 corn tortillas
- Cooking oil such as canola, peanut or avocado oil
- 1/2 lb. chorizo
- 1/4 cup finely diced onion
- 1 15- oz. can refried beans
- 1 cup shredded Monterey Jack Colby Jack, cheddar or queso fresco cheese
- Toppings such as shredded lettuce, sliced jalapeno, sliced olives, pico de gallo, salsa, sour cream or guacamole
- Cut tortillas in half with a pizza cutter. This step is optional, but makes the tostadas easier to pick up by hand.
- Cover the bottom of a large frying pan with oil that has a high smoke point, such as canola, peanut or avocado oil, to a depth of about 1/2 inch.
- Heat the oil over medium high heat, until it shimmers slightly. If you dip the edge of a tortilla into the oil and it begins to bubble and sizzle, the oil is ready for frying. If you are using a frying thermometer, heat the oil to 375 degrees.
- Using tongs, carefully place 3-4 tortilla halves into the oil. Fry for about one minute on each side until browned and crispy.
- Remove tostada shells from oil and drain on paper towels. Sprinkle lightly with salt. Repeat until all the tortillas are fried.
- If the tostada shells are chewy and not completely crisp, finish by baking in a 350 degree oven for 5-8 minutes.
- Prepare the filling by cooking the chorizo and onion in a frying pan over medium high heat until the chorizo is browned and cooked through. Add the refried beans, stir to combine, and continue cooking until hot.
- Top each half tostada shell with about 2 tablespoons of bean and chorizo filling.
- Add cheese and other toppings as desired. If you wish, you can let each person top their own tostadas at the table.