*This post was created in partnership with Mission Tortilla and their new Gluten Free Flour Tortillas. The words and recipe, as always, are mine. Our love of tortillas is completely and positively genuine. Perhaps even irrational at times.
Before I married Gabe I never thought of tortillas as an everyday staple but he comes from the home of the garbage burrito so I quickly learned that a house without tortillas is a house ill-prepared.
Garbage burritos were and quite frankly could still be Gabe’s dad’s answer to “Mom’s gone, what’s for dinner?” Anything goes in a garbage burrito where yesterday’s leftovers are rolled into a tortilla to become an entirely new dining experience. Roast beef, mashed potatoes and salad? A perfect candidate for a garbage burrito. Just don’t forget the gravy.
In our own home the kids know that when I’m gone there will be many tortillas consumed. Gabe has left the garbage burrito tradition as a memory of his childhood he’d perhaps just as soon forget and moved on to make his own “famous” quesadillas. The kids go crazy for them and recount to me in great budding food writer-esque descriptions of dad’s genius perfectly displayed in his quesadillas. First, you must start with the lard I rendered after a weekend pig butchery workshop. Then you add in cheese; cheddar for its meltability and a bit of Parmesan for a deep, nutty flavor. I believe also that it’s important to get a bit of cheese on the outside so that the tortilla itself has remnants of baked on cheese. Sliced up ham melts between the layers before the quesadilla is cut into perfect triangles.
Before Gabe’s grandmother passed I asked her to teach me how to make tortillas. Every day she would make them for her large family of five hungry children. She’d roll them thin and cook them in a pan with lard until they bubbled and expanded; light crisp on the outside and soft and feathery inside. I watched her roll them in a way that only hands that had made thousands in a lifetime could do. The tradition runs deep in this family.
I’ve come to love and appreciate the use of tortillas having now had them in our house for nearly 13 years. Sometimes I’ll make my own, most often I don’t but they are always there. I know that if I put it on a tortilla I get him every time.
This time around I crisp our tortillas in a pan with a bit of oil until charred in parts, deeply smoked and crisp with still a bit of chew. With the grill pan hot nearby I grill avocados to soften as their flesh remains too tight to be delicious but I am far too impatient to wait for them. Scallions grill nearby until deeply marked and soft. On the table I set out nearly a dozen small plates for people to top their own tostada as they see fit, although I have to remind the smallest member of our family not to forget to include a few vegetables. She falls hard for grilled avocado.
Before the night is over you’ll be devising all sorts of other plans for the charred scallion salsa. As I type this I’m thinking about my own “famous” quesadilla with a bit of gruyere and scallion salsa for good measure. As long as there are tortillas at the ready we’re set.
*This post is sponsored by Mission. We’re partial to the flour soft taco variety but if that’s not an option for you they’ve just created Gluten Free Flour tortillas. Find out where and when they are available around you! Also, head on over to Gluten Free Girl to check out her amazing recipe for a Gluten Free Salmon and Black Bean Taco Salad.
Grilled Avocado and Black Bean Tostada with Charred Scallion Salsa
1 bunch scallions, cleaned but roots left on
1/2 cup roughly chopped cilantro
Zest and juice from half a lime
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 teaspoon toasted cumin seeds
1/2 jalapeño, seeded and diced
3 tablespoons vegetable oil, lard, or other flavorless oil
4 Mission flour tortillas (substitute their new Gluten-Free flour tortillas if necessary)
2 avocados, halved and pit removed
1 can black beans
2 cups shredded purple cabbage
Hot sauce – if you’re like Gabe
Over a hot grill pan, or if weather permits, an actual grill, grill the scallions, roots and all, until the greens of their stalks brighten and deep char marks appear, about 5 to 7 minutes. Set aside to cool.
Once cool enough to handle roughly chop the scallions. The roots add a lovely flavor and a nice frizzled crunch to the salsa.
In a bowl combine the scallions, cilantro, zest and juice from half a lime, olive oil, cumin, and jalapeño. Start with a hefty pinch of salt then taste and adjust from there. It should taste bright and briny which is a lovely match with the creamy avocado..
Grill the avocados until deeply charred, about 5 minutes on a hot grill.
Turn off the grill and let the avocados linger there for a few minutes while you crisp the tortillas. Salt the flesh side of the avocados while they rest.
In a large skillet add half of the oil and crisp the tortillas until puffed and deeply golden even nearly blackened in parts. Add more oil as the pan gets dry. Set the tortillas on a plate until ready to serve. If you’d prefer you could skip the crisping and serve these as tacos instead. If that’s the case, simply warm the tortillas in the oven wrapped in a clean dish towel or aluminum foil to prevent them from drying out.
Drain and rinse the black beans and season with a bit of salt, lime, and olive oil.
Chop the cilantro, crumbled the cotija and slice a lime or two into wedges.
Assemble the tostadas by layering the black beans, cabbage, some sliced pieces of grilled avocado, cotija, pickled jalapeño, lime and the salsa on a plate. Serve with thinly sliced radish.