One of the great American melting pot stories is the culinary traditions brought from around the world and shared with hungry citizens eager to experiment with different tastes and food combinations. The birthplace of the beloved Haas avocado and chocolate, Guatemalan cuisine is steeped in Mayan culture and garnished with Spanish cooking traditions--a combination that creates complex flavors and delicious and colorful plates. Tostadas are Guatemalan snacking food and associated with celebrations and holidays. While the ingredient list looks long, there is very little cooking, of which most can be done in advance. This is fun vibrant food worthy of an outdoor summer gathering in which all of the ingredients may be put out buffet style for a make your own tostada station, or plated one hour in advance of mealtime. Either way, this fresh Central American specialty is best enjoyed with  friends, family, and an all-American IPA.
cuisine Guatemalan
difficulty Moderate
season Year Round
serves 4

Ingredients for the Tostadas

  • 8 corn tortillas
  • Avocado oil
  • Sea salt flakes
  • 8 medium beets
  • 8 large Boston lettuce leaves
  • 3 limes, zested and juiced
  • Sea salt, to taste
  • 1/4 small head red cabbage, shaved
  • 1/4 small head savoy cabbage
  • 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 haas avocado, peeled, pitted, & chopped
  • 1 teaspoon garlic, minced
  • 1 can black beans, drained & rinsed
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 small red onion, sliced into 1/4
  • 1 cup queso fresco, crumbled
  • Pickled jalapeños*
  • Fresh cilantro leaves

Ingredients for the Chirmol Salsa

  • 2 pints grape tomatoes
  • 1/3 cup white onion, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon fresh cilantro, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon fresh mint, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon fresh lime juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 jalapeño, minced and to taste

Directions for the Tostadas

  1. Pour a 1/2" oil into a 10" skillet and heat the oil to 350 degrees F.
  2. Using tongs, lower a tortilla into the hot oil (the tortilla should sizzle as soon as it hits the hot oil) and fry until golden. Remove, sprinkle the fried tortilla with flakey sea salt, and drain on wire rack placed over a baking tray lined paper towels. Repeat until all 8 tortillas are fried.
  3. Place each beet inside a square of aluminum foil, drizzle with avocado oil and salt. Tightly fold the foil around the beet and place on a baking sheet. Repeat with each beet. Place the tray in the oven and roast for 30 to 45 minutes, or until a knife can be inserted all the way into the beet's center. Shred half the beets on a box grater and reserve in a bowl.  Dice the other four beets into 1/4" cubes. Add 1 tablespoon avocado oil and 1 tablespoon lime juice to each bowl. Sprinkle each bowl with half of the lime zest. Stir and reserve until ready to use.
  4. Place the purple cabbage in one bowl and cabbage in another bowl. Mix together the vinegar, sugar, water, and 1 teaspoon salt. Pour half of the mixture over each bowl of cabbage. Wait at least 30 minutes before using (2 hours best).
  5. Mash the avocado, 1 tablespoon of lime juice, and garlic in a bowl. Season to taste with salt. Reserve.
  6. Place the eggs in a small pot and cover with cold water. Bring the water to a boil, put a lid on the pot, turn off the heat and cook the eggs for 4 minutes. Remove the eggs from the pot, run them under cold water, peel and slice them into 1/4" rounds. Reserve.
  7. Assemble the tostadas in this order: tortilla, lettuce leaf, guacamole, shredded beets, both  cabbages, black beans, beet cubes, red onion, pickled jalapeños, sliced onion, and finish with the egg on top. 
  8. Sprinkle with sea salt and serve immediately with the chirmol salsa.

Directions for the Chirmol Salsa

  1. Add the tomatoes to a 12" dry skillet. Turn the heat to medium high and char the tomatoes  until the tomatoes are dark brown and black all around (shake the skillet to rotate the tomatoes and use tongs if needed to turn). Remove from heat, cool to room temperature.
  2. Add the tomatoes onion, cilantro, mint, lime juice, salt, and a bit of chopped jalapeño to the bowl of a food processor or vita mix. Pulse 4 times, or just until the salsa is uniform texture but not a liquid puree. 
  3. Taste and adjust chili and seasoning. Set aside. Serve at room temperature.