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A Simple Desultory Tostada | Cilantro-Lime-Marinated Tofu Tostadas with Salsa Verde Cruda

22 September 2010

tofu tostada
I have a taco song. It goes “taco, taaaco…taco, taaaco.” I sing it when I’m sad, I sing it when I’m happy, and I sing when I want, well, tacos. I don’t know what it is about tacos, but they never fail to put me in a good mood. Not just a good mood, but a party mood. Perhaps it’s the margarita association. Margaritas also put me in a good, party mood. However, I often regret margaritas a few hours later—or would, if I wasn’t passed out.

Sometimes, despite my affinity for them and my proclivity for making them quite often, I regret tacos too. The tortillas invariably fail to hold up to the filling, so eating them becomes a chore. And because I insist on setting out a make-your-own taco bar, filling ramekins and bowls with an assortment of various taco fillings and accompaniments, the clean-up is a chore too.

Faced with a pint of tomatillos from the CSA, I found myself singing my taco song but not up for getting my hands too dirty. Recalling a birthday dinner a friend’s Colombian step-mom once made (hola, Sivan!), I realized there was an easy, delicious, and relatively tidy way out of my dilemma. Admittedly, I couldn’t recall what these were called when I made them, am still not sure tostada is not Taco Bell nomenclature, and am certain these are far from what they make in Colombia. I am convinced that the next time I’m craving tacos, I will consider the tostada route instead. You can eat these with a knife and fork or pizza-style with your hands—the baked tortillas hold up quite well to the toppings. Time to start working on a new song.

Cilantro-Lime-Marinated Tofu Tostadas with Salsa Verde Cruda
Original Recipe

1 pound extra-firm tofu
6 corn tortillas
1/2 cup cotija cheese, shredded
1 small red onion, sliced
1 cup thawed frozen sweet yellow corn (or fresh)
1 poblano pepper, roasted, skin removed, sliced
3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
cilantro and plain yogurt to finish
Cilantro-Lime Marinade (recipe below)
Salsa Verde Cruda (recipe below)

Cut the tofu into six business-card-sized pieces. Lay evenly spaced on a towel-covered cutting board. Lay another towel on top, and another cutting board on top of that towel. Add some weight to the top (I usually stack a bunch of bean-filled glass jars on top), and press to drain for 30–60 min. Cut each piece into six cubes, and marinate with cilantro-lime marinade (recipe below) for several hours in the fridge.

Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large skillet. When hot, place the tofu in the skillet in a single layer. Sear each side (flip them just once—don’t stir!) until each side is golden, about 7–10 minutes each.

Meanwhile, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in another skillet. Add the onion, and sauté until almost turning brown. Add the poblano and corn, and toss to heat through.

Lay the tortillas flat on a baking sheet in a single layer. Top each with a bit of the cheese. Bake for 5–7 minutes in a 350˚F oven, or pop them under a broiler until the cheese is melted and bubbly.

Top each tortilla with a few pieces of tofu and a scoop of the vegetable mixture. Drizzle with salsa verde cruda (recipe below), and top with a few sprigs of cilantro and a dollop of plain yogurt.

Cilantro-Lime Marinade
Original Recipe

1 cup cilantro
juice of 1–2 limes
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon cumin
3 cloves garlic
salt to taste

Combine all ingredients in a blender, and purée.

Salsa Verde Cruda
From Smitten Kitchen

10 tomatillos, husks removed, thoroughly washed
6 scallions, ends trimmed, washed, roughly chopped
5 cloves garlic, peeled, smashed
1–2 jalepeños, stems removed, roughly chopped
pinch allspice
salt to taste

Combine all ingredients in a blender, and purée.

3 Comments leave one →
  1. 25 September 2010 12:53 am

    I’m not sure that I’ve ever had a taco with tofu in it, but I have no idea why! These look so good. Definitely on my to make soon list!


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