June 27, 2015 – I mentioned to my wife an article I had read recently about tostadas made with fish.
We liked the idea of a non traditional tostada. It brings back memories of her first trip to Louisiana. I arranged with Chef/Owner Jim Urdiales of Mestizo in Baton Rouge for the creation of a tasting menu. His concept of combining his Cajun and Mexican heritages resulted in great food. My wife was amazed. As I’ve said before, you haven’t really lived until you’ve had a crawfish burrito! (See Mestizo in the Louisiana category published on October 13, 2014.)
We decided to make seafood tostadas. The question was should it be lobster or king crab? We love both. We decided that lobster would work best. We might have given some consideration to the price of lobster tails at five dollars a piece while king crab was selling for around $20 a pound the last time I looked.
Traditional tostadas usually have refried beans spread on a flat tortilla that has been fried to a browned firmness. We decided to keep the beans but use cannellinis. The white kidney beans would add to the taste and help to hold the lobster in place on the tortilla. But their lighter flavor would be less likely to overpower the delicate character of the lobster. That and the fact that I forgot to get refried beans when I went to the store. We had cannellinis in the pantry. An accident that turned out well.
I did remember to pick up a can of jalapenos and carrots en escabeche. Pickled peppers and carrots.
It is important to grill the lobster tails rather than boil them. Grilling brings out more of that wonderful lobster quality. Makes it more intense. For our tostadas we wanted to bring out the lobster essence as much as possible.
The way I grill lobster tails is to cut through both the hard shell on top of the tail and the more tender underside. I use heavy kitchen shears. Lay the tails on the grill with the tender underside up. Grill for about five minutes. The hard shell should be fully red. Turn the tails over and grill for about another four minutes. You can use the same process in an iron skillet on the stove.
Let the grilled tails cool until you can handle them. Pull the two halves apart and the lobster meat should come easily out of the shell.
(Makes four tostadas)
Four corn tortillas Four grilled lobster tails, chopped
One can cannellini beans Four tablespoons jalapeno & carrot en escabeche
Salt, pepper & crushed red pepper to taste Five or six radishes, sliced
Pinch of onion powder Cilantro, chopped
Two tablespoons extra virgin olive oil Peanut or canola oil
With the burner on medium, warm the beans until they are just heated through. Drain the beans and return them to the pot. Using a potato masher or whatever you have handy, mash the beans into a paste. Season with salt, pepper and crushed red pepper to taste. Add a pinch of onion powder. Drizzle one to two tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil into the beans and mix well. The oil adds creaminess to the beans.
Slice the jalapenos and carrots.
In a non stick skillet heat the peanut or canola oil over medium high heat until hot but not smoking. Place a tortilla into the hot oil. When it starts to brown and harden turn it over. When the second side is browned remove the tortilla from the hot oil and place it on a plate covered with paper towels to let it drain. Repeat with the remaining tortillas. The cooking process for each tortilla should take only a couple of minutes.
Assemble the tostadas by first spreading a thin layer of the mashed beans on each tortilla. Pile the grilled and chopped lobster onto the beans. Top the lobster with slices of jalapena, carrots and radishes. Sprinkle the chopped cilantro over the assembled tostada.