Yes, Mexican Night! It might be a weekly regular for a lot of my readers, but in Europe having a Mexican night may call for a special occasion or party. Worse than that, most Europeans only know fajitas, guacamole and chili con carne, when it comes to Mexican food. I’ve recently come across a simple recipe of Mexican Tostadas with Prawns, fully packed with flavors, as the dish is composed of various fresh vegetables drizzled with olive oil, marinated prawns, garlic, hot spices and lime. A bit of Sophie here, and a bit of Sophie there, the desire to try something new for the first time, and a few minutes later here are my Prawns Tostadas for my fabulous World Food Challenge made-in-Mexico!
I participate one more time to the event on Our Growing Edge that is hosted this month by Susan and Mike from the blog Simply Sundays. This month’s event suggests we make summer recipes using veggies such as avocado, radish or corn for instance. I thought my recipe was perfect for that, and a very fresh Summer option, so here I am!
Tostadas are flour or more often corn tortillas that are usually fried (mine are so not!!) even though their meaning in Spanish language relates to the fact that they should be toasted (and of course, mine are!). In Mexico, tostadas refer to any dish that use a tostada as a base for other ingredients. It can also be eaten alone, and are frequently served to accompany seafood or a stew.
The tostada avoids waste when tortillas are not fresh enough to be made into tacos, but fresh enough to be eaten. The most popular toppings used are the same as with tacos, such as beans, cheese, sour cream, chopped lettuce, sliced onions, and salsa, which is then topped with diced and fried meat or seafood. I always truly try to stick to a national recipe’s closest requirements, but I must admit that I’m not into beans at all, and I’m currently trying to cut short on all rich ingredients such as sour cream (that I normally looooooove!). So this healthy recipe that I’ve found, made and slightly adapted from Gordon Ramsay’s (I know he’s not Mexican, thank you), is just everything like what I can deal with at the moment when time comes for eating a meal.
As my diet only allows 1 tablespoon of olive oil per meal per person, I had to deal with that amount of oil only (a total of 2 tablespoons in case you hate maths) to make these fabulous Tostadas Mexicanas. The marinade of the prawns needs oil, the salad mix needs oil too, so does the pan for sauté the prawns in the end. I think this idea of Gordon’s to toast the tortillas in an empty pan instead of frying them was a good move for me to follow through, in order to avoid wasting a few drops of this precious olive oil.
Now about the salsa (aka salad mix). All vegetables must be cut smaller than bite-size, as combined together they will be eaten along and kinda recompose a bite-size. No major difficulty for the veggies I chose here. For the ripe avocado, cut it in half lengthwise, take out the pit, and for each half, slice a grid without piercing the skin. Use a spoon to lift up all the dices. Nice and clean.
I like to drink Tequila flavored beer when eating Mexican food. I usually love Desperados, but tonight I tried the Merida beer and it was very fine by me. Along the way, I also learned how to cool a beer in less than 20 minutes while I originally purchased it at room temperature. When you get home, roll each individual bottle of beer into a wet kitchen absorbing paper, and keep in the freezer for 20 minutes maximum. Either serve immediately, or cool longer inside the fridge door. This technique makes wonders when you improvise a special evening!
- 2 flour or corn tortillas
- 12 to 16 prawns
- 1 large garlic clove
- salt and pepper
- Cayenne pepper flakes
- olive oil
- 1 sweet lettuce (either Romaine or Sucrine)
- a dozen cherry tomatoes
- half a dozen pink radishes
- scallions green leaves
- 1 small red hot pepper
- 1 ripe avocado
- lime juice
- a few basil leaves (optional)
- Prepare the marinade for the prawns. Mince the garlic and the basil leaves, then combine to the prawns in a bowl. Salt, pepper, and add Cayenne pepper to your taste. Drizzle with just a little bit of olive oil, and reserve for the time that you prepare the rest of the recipe.
- Make the tostadas. Heat a pan and toast one tortilla at a time, on both sides, until they change colour to golden brown, slighly burnt. They might start to look a little fluffy, but when resting on a plate, they’ll turn dry and crunchy after a few minutes.
- Prepare all the vegetables to combine in a larger bowl in the following order. Mince then shred the sweet lettuce, mince the spring onion, cut the radishes lenghtwise in sticks shape.
- Very thinly mince a small red hot pepper and dispose off of the seeds.
- Cut the cherry tomatoes in half and mince the basil leaves if using.
- Dice up the avocado as explained in the core text.
- Add them all to the salad. Salt and pepper, drizzle with olive oil and a generous dash of lime juice. Gently combine all ingredients, being careful not to accidentally mash the avocado.
- Heat an empty pan very hot. When almost ready, pour just a teaspoon of olive oil.
- Put the prawns in the pan and sauté for about 2 minutes (no more). Take out of the pan immediately.
- Plate up. Arrange the salad on top of the tostada, and nicely display the prawns on top of the salad in a circle shape.
- Grab a Mexican beer and drink along, you got your Mexican Night on a plate!
Created and Written by Sophie Rebibo-Halimi, © 2016 All Rights Reserved.