Recipe: TUCSON TOSTADAS

Title: TUCSON TOSTADAS
Categories: Appetizers, Southwest, Usenet
Yield: 6 servings

3 md Flour tortillas 1/3 lb Anejo cheese, grated
-(buy the largest 1/2 lb Poblano peppers, sliced
-flour tortillas that -(or any other mild
-will fit in your -chili pepper)
-biggest frying pan) 1/4 C Coriander (fresh),
1/2 lb Oaxaca cheese, shredded -chopped fine
1/2 lb Monterey jack cheese, Lard or oil
-shredded -for frying

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. If you are using fresh poblanos, roast them
and remove their skins and seeds, If you are using canned poblanos, wash
and drain them. Slice the peppers into thin decorative slices.

In a big frying pan, fry a tortilla in lard or oil until it is golden
brown. Remove to paper towels, drain well, then place on a baking sheet or
pizza pan. Although lard is bad for you, the grim truth is that tortillas
taste very much better when they have been fried in lard. Live dangerously.

When the tortilla has cooled and hardened, cover it with a thin layer of
Oaxaca cheese, then with the jack cheese. Crumble anejo on top of those
layers, then sprinkle finely-chopped coriander on top of that.

Arrange the pepper slices in a geometric pattern on top of the cheeses.
Bake for 5 minutes, or until the cheese has melted but not browned. Remove
from the oven, and use a pizza cutter to slice into individual portions.
Serve immediately.

NOTES:

* A toasted cheese tortilla snack popular in southern Arizona -- I first
discovered this recipe in 1978 when I went to Tucson to visit my
prospective in-laws. Such visits are often tense; Loretta's parents knew
that I liked Mexican food, so they took me to their favorite restaurant,
Casa Molina. The appetizer, a toasted cheese tostada, was so good that I
forgot my nervousness and just chowed down on serving after serving. I
think that her parents remembered from that visit more about my appetite
than my personality.

I tried several times to make Tucson tostadas, but they always ended up
tasting like pizza. Then a recipe appeared in the April 1986 issue of
_Sunset_ magazine, and after reading it, I was able to reconstruct this
replica of the Tostada Casa Molina. The secret is to use Mexican cheeses.
Yield: Serves 6.

* Oaxaca (pronounced "oh-HOCK-a") cheese is a Mexican string cheese. You
can substitute any Mexican cheese marked "asadero" (melting cheese). If
you're desperate, you can use Armenian mozzarella, which has the right
texture but the wrong flavor. Monterey jack is a bland American cheddar;
you can substitute good-quality Muenster.

* Anejo cheese is somewhat like Parmesan, dry and crumbly. You can
substitute Mexican cotija cheese, but that is probably pointless, because a
store that carries cotija will probably also carry anejo. Fresh-ground
parmesan will do in a pinch, though it is not the right flavor. In one of
my many attempts to get this recipe right, I tried a mixture of Greek feta
and cow's-milk romano cheese. It tasted very interesting, though not at all
authentic.

: Difficulty: easy once you have found the ingredients.
: Time: 10 minutes each.
: Precision: no need to measure.

: Brian Reid
: DEC Western Research Laboratory, Palo Alto, Calif., USA
: reid@decwrl.DEC.COM {ihnp4,ucbvax,decvax,sun,pyramid}!decwrl!reid

: Copyright (C) 1986 USENET Community Trust



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