11/02/2011 04:07 pm ET | Updated Aug 31, 2012

How To Make A Tostada

Tostadas are simply corn tortillas that have been fried or baked, explains Iliana de la Vega of The Culinary Institute of America. You can buy the crunchy rounds (and all of the other ingredients) at almost any supermarket. To assemble the tostada, she spreads the tortilla with refried black beans, explaining that leftover chicken or pork are also delicious additions -- almost any meat will work, since this is basically comfort food. She places shredded chicken over the beans, then tops the chicken with chopped lettuce. Tomatoes, canned jalapeños and ripe avocado are next; then salt, queso fresco and a drizzle of Mexican crema finish the dish.

For 60 years, The Culinary Institute of America has been setting the standard for excellence in professional culinary education. In this video series, experienced chefs and educators show you how to tackle essential cooking techniques.

Video Transcript

Hi, I'm Chef Iliana de la Vega from the Culinary Institute of America, and I'm going to show you this kitchen basic: how to make a tostada.

Tostadas are corn tortillas that can be fried or, like this, that have been baked. This is storebought - you can get it in any supermarket. So they are easy and crunchy and delicious.

The first thing you need is some refried beans. So we'll spread out a thin layer of beans. If you have leftover chicken, you can just pull it and do a tostada with chicken, if you have leftover pork, do the same - any kind of meat, you can put on top. It is comfort food, so it doesn't have to be perfect, which is what I love about Mexican food.

So we have the bean spread: it can be pinto beans, black beans, any kind of beans that you have. Then put some chicken on top; some chicken, then some lettuce, shredded lettuce. It could be iceberg, it could be romaine - I'm using romaine - but any other kind will also do well. So we have our lettuce here, and then come the decorations. We have tomatoes - Roma tomatoes will do well. We have some jalapenos - these are canned jalapenos, and you can put as many as you like. Now an avocado, a perfect ripe avocado: you just need some wedges. Here you go.

Just assemble your tostada the way you like. If there's something you don't like, you don't use it: it's as simple as that! We have avocado in our tostada, we sprinkle a little bit of salt on the avocado and tomato, so they have some flavor. Then some cheese: queso fresco or any comparably fresh cheese will do as well. And some cream: I'm using mexican crema, so this is more close to the French creme fraiche. And this is how you make a tostada.

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