Wednesday, May 11, 2011
Coriander Tofu (or Chicken) Tostadas with Refried Beans and "Grilled" Fennel
They say you learn something new every day.
Well. That sounds promising for those of us who have to learn all of medicine in two weeks.
Instead of learning the many and varied side effects of anti-epileptics ((k) all of the above). (Yes, sometimes the answer choices go to "k".)
Instead of figuring out which hole in your skull each and every cranial nerve comes out of (play odds - superior orbital fissure).
Instead of being a productive member of the medical profession in any way shape or form.
You have spent the majority of your week trying to learn how to eat a tostada.
Really. It's baffling.
Now, I'm not even going to begin to pretend that these are real tostadas. They have a floppy and not a crispy shell, which is probably a large part of the problem. (And if you were still buried beneath 100 million thousand of the best tortillas you've ever had then you wouldn't go out and buy tostada shells either.)
Do you pick it up and eat it like a pizza? Or cut it with a knife and fork (please say it's not this one because I really hate eating with a knife and fork)? Or roll it up into a pseudo burrito?
Or do what I did, which was spoon the topping into my mouth as quick as humanly possible and then roll the tortilla up into a cylinder and gobble that down with reckless abandon?
That can't be the right way to do it. With all the fillings dripping down your cheeks and all.
I need your professional opinions people!
This recipe and I go back. Way back. To January of 2011.
When I opened up my issue of that month's Bon Appetit. Exclaimed, "YUM!" really loudly to anyone who would listen (i.e. my index card collection). And then promptly forgot all about it.
(It was quite untactful of me.)
But I guess I didn't really forget because when I was trying to figure out what to do with some of those tortillas that are taking up precious real estate in my fridge, it immediately sprang into my head. Long term memory at it's finest.
I take this as a good sign that even though I think I'm forgetting everything I shoved into my brain last week, it must be there. Somewhere. Right?
Anyway. I really loved this combination of flavors and ingredients. The coriander seeds give the tofu (or chicken, which the original recipe called for) a nice citrusy edge, which goes perfectly with the almost buttery fennel and spicy refried beans. With some queso on top, of course. Just because that always seems like the right thing to do.
Coriander Tofu Tostadas with Refried Beans and "Grilled" Fennel
Makes 4, adapted from Bon Appetit January 2011
1 1/2 cups dried pinto beans, soaked overnight or 2 (15 oz) cans
1 chopped white onion
2 tbsp dried oregano
2 cloves garlic, peeled
2 chipotle chiles en adobo
1 tsp ground cumin
veggie broth or cooking water from the beans/liquid from the can
coarse kosher salt
Fennel and Tofu (or Chicken):
1 large fresh fennel bulb, trimmed and cut through the core into 1/3 inch thick slices
1 tbsp olive oil
1 block extra-firm tofu, as much liquid squeezed out as possible and cut into strips (or 4 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves)
1/3 cup coriander seeds (about 1 oz), coarsely crushed in a plastic bag
3 cups thinly sliced lettuce
6 radishes, trimmed, thinly sliced
4 oz queso fresco
1. If using dried beans, then boil them in salted water until soft, about 45 minutes. Drain them, reserving some of the liquid (about 1/2 cup). Don't be like me and forget.
2. Place the beans and the onion, oregano, garlic, chipotles, and cumin in a food processor. Blend to a chunky puree, adding just enough of the bean water or veggie broth so that it comes together.
3. Spray a non-stick skillet with cooking spray and add the bean mixture. Stir over medium-low heat, adding more bean liquid/broth if dry, about 5 minutes. Season with kosher salt and black pepper. Remove from heat and set aside.
4. Preheat the oven to 450. Spray tofu strips with cooking spray or brush with olive oil. Season with salt, pepper, and crushed coriander seeds. Place on a baking sheet lined with aluminum foil and bake for 20 minutes, flipping them over halfway through.
5. In the meanwhile, saute fennel slices in the olive oil until lightly browned and crisp-tender. Season with salt and pepper.
6. If using uncooked tortillas like I was, then cook your tortillas according to package directions. Top each tortilla with a layer of the refried beans, lettuce, radishes, fennel, tofu, queso fresco and cilantro.
I am submitting this to My Legume Love Affair, which is being hosted by Smitha of Kannada Cuisine.