05 Aug Prawn Tostado
This week, I’m taking inspiration from Mexican food, or the Mexican food that I’ve eaten in San Francisco at least. Tostadas translates as “toasted” and in Mexico and parts of Latin America, it’s a dish comprised of a small toasted tortilla layered with toppings ranging from fish or meat topped with vegetables and creamy avocado. Done well, it’s a crunchy, creamy mixture of toasted textures.
I’ve talked about them before in this column but if you’re looking for great Mexican ingredients in Ireland, visit Picado on South Richmond Street in Dublin, or online at www.picadomexican.com. They currently have a Piñata of Donald Trump hanging in their shop window, too, so that’s worth a visit alone, though they are off on holiday between 1st and 12th of August. The shop is stocked with real corn tortillas, a wide variety of chillis dried, smoked and in pastes, and they chipotle sauces and hot salsas. Shop owner Lily Ramirez-Foran also runs regular cooking classes from the shop, so keep an eye on the website for those.
I felt like whipping up a version of a tostada using prawns and some lovely fresh corn on the cob. I used pre-cooked prawns for this recipe because I figured that would be what you could get your hands on most easily. But what I would recommend is going to your fishmonger to get langoustines or Dublin Bay Prawns if you want to make more of a splash with your tostadas. Not everyone likes eating these delicious little lobsters, mostly because they tend to look up at you with their big black eyes when they’re served whole. The taste comparison between these and the more ubiquitous prawn, mostly flown in frozen from overseas, is incomparable.
But Dublin Bay Prawns are not something that you’re guaranteed to find in your supermarket aisle. For fresh fish and shellfish, you’re always better off going to a fishmonger if you’re looking for variety. If I was on the hunt for Dublin Bay Prawns in the city centre, I’d try the fish counter at Fallon & Byrne, Kish Fish in Smithfield or Fitzsimon’s Fishmongers in The Green Door Market.
If you can’t find a fresh corn on the cob in its husk, a bit of tinned sweetcorn will be ok, too, it just won’t be as delightfully crunchy. This speedy supper might not be an authentic tostada but it sure hit the spot, and fast.
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cooking Time: 15 minutes
1 ripe avocado
Half a lime
1 small carrot
1 fresh corn on the cob, in the husk
2 large handfuls of fresh prawns
Knob of butter
Generous pinch of cayenne pepper
4 small corn tortillas
4 tablespoons of natural yogurt
1. Remove the avocado flesh from the avocado skin into a bowl and discard the stone. Squeeze in the juice of half a lime and season with a pinch of salt and pepper. Use a fork to crush the avocado, making it chunky or smooth, as you prefer.
2. Peel the carrot and use a cheese grater to roughly shred it.
3. Remove the corn from its husk and use a sharp knife to slice the corn away from the cob. If you’re using tinned corn, just drain the tin and set aside.
4. Heat a bit of butter in a frying pan and add the prawns. Add a good pinch of cayenne pepper and fry the prawns until they are pink. If you’re using pre-cooked prawns, you can do this stage too, just fry until the prawns are warmed through. Add the fresh corn on the cob (or the tinned variety) to the pan for about 3 minutes, until warmed through.
5. Next, toast the tortillas. When the tortillas are toasted, top with a dollop of creamy avocado. Divide the prawns and corn between the four tortillas. Top with shredded carrot.
6. Squeeze the juice of 1 lime into the natural yoghurt. You can add a little bit of water to the yoghurt if you’d like to drizzle it onto your tostada.
7. Serve the prawn tostada with a drizzle or dollop of lime yoghurt and an extra little pinch of cayenne pepper. Scatter some fresh coriander over the top and serve with fresh lime wedges on the side.
Storecupboard Essential: Corn Tortillas
Picado Mexico is a great place to go in Dublin (or online at www.picadomexican.com) for corn tortillas, but otherwise it can be hard to find small corn tortillas. If I’m in a rush, I grab a few wraps from the supermarket and use a small saucer to cut the wrap into a small circular tortilla. I use the leftover scraps that I’ve cut away to make tortilla crisps by cutting them into pieces, covering in oil and chilli flakes and baking them in the oven.
This recipe first appeared in The Irish Independent on 4th of August