Dinner Rush! Grilled Carne Asada Tostadas

By: Patrick Decker

The tostada is to Tex-Mex what the club sandwich is to a chrome-and-neon diner. This open-faced sandwich comes high-brow or low-brow however you want to have it, served up on a flat (or sometimes slightly concave) crisp tortilla. Enjoy one for a snack, two for a meal or three for those moments of absolute desperation.

Like that famous mile-high diner staple, tostadas come with an almost unlimited potential for toppings and flavors. It sounds cliche to say “make it your own” and “have it your way,” but seriously, it’s true. Your only prerequisite is a crisp and crackly tortilla base. Anything after that is up to you.

Speaking of that tortilla base, it’s customarily fried for optimal crispness (not exactly ideal when it’s sweltering outside). In that case the crispiness imparted by the grill will do just fine. This variation makes a knife and fork an essential part of the tostada experience, the extra effort being 110 percent worth it.

Grilled Carne Asada Tostadas
Total Time: 25 min
Prep: 10 min
Cook: 15 min
Yield: 4 servings
Level: Easy
For the steak:
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon chipotle chile powder
One 10- to 12-ounce flank or hanger steak
Salt and ground black pepper
1 tablespoon canola or vegetable oil
Juice of 1 lime
For the beans:
1 tablespoon canola or vegetable oil
1/2 small white onion, finely chopped
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 jalapeno, seeded and finely chopped
One 14-ounce can black beans, drained and rinsed
1/2 cup chicken stock, as needed
8 corn tortillas
1 avocado, pitted and thinly sliced, to garnish
2 to 3 radishes, thinly sliced, to garnish
1/2 cup crumbled queso fresco, to garnish
1/2 cup cilantro leaves and stems, torn, to garnish
Lime wedges, to garnish

Preheat a grill to medium-high.

Combine the smoked paprika, garlic powder, onion powder and chipotle powder. Season the steak with salt and pepper, and rub with the prepared spice mix and oil. Grill the steak turning occasionally, until cooked to your liking, about 10 minutes for medium. Squeeze the lime juice over the cooked steak and let rest for 10 minutes.

While the steak is cooking, place a saute pan over medium heat with the oil. Add the onion, spices and jalapeno to the pan, and cook until very soft, 8 to 10 minutes. Add the beans and a splash of stock, and begin to mash the beans into a coarse paste. Continue adding stock as needed to thin the mixture into a spreadable paste. Season with salt and pepper, then reserve warm.

To serve, toast the tortillas over the grill until charred and softened. Spread a spoonful of mashed black beans onto each tortilla. Thinly slice the steak and top each tostada with steak, avocado, radishes, cheese and cilantro. Serve with lime wedges.

Patrick W. Decker’s life revolves around food. Always has, probably always will. As a graduate of The Culinary Institute of America and past member of the culinary teams for Food Network stars Rachael Ray, Sandra Lee, Marc Forgione and Bobby Deen, he now works on digital production for FoodNetwork.com, CookingChannelTV.com and Food.com in NYC by day and develops recipes at his home in New York’s Hudson Valley by night. You can see what he’s up to by following him on Twitter & Instagram at @patrickwdecker or visiting his website at patrickwdecker.com.

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