Friday, 17 August 2012

Lil Ms Squirrel's Chimichurri Tostadas

It's okay, I'm not going to do 'the singing thing' today, I promise!  But as I still had a huge bundle of parsley in the fridge and I wanted to experiment a bit with the premise of chimichurri sauce, I decided to have a little experiment for today's lunch.

Chimichurri is just like pesto without the cheese and nuts.  Or a green herb sauce if you will.  Salsa verde.  Back to that theme that actually, there are only so many recipes in the world and  the rest are just variations on a theme.

Pretty colours
So starting out with half a huge bunch of parsley, about finely chopped shallot and two fat cloves of garlic, I added 3 tbsp of Waitrose chilli olive oil, a squeeze of lemon juice, some Maldon salt and a finely diced tomato (you need a decently flavoured one here - none of your tasteless supermarket salad toms thank you very much).

The chilli oil gives a more even heat to the sauce than chilli flakes would which is a good idea if you're not going to blend.  I found the flakes a bit spiky last night.  But then again, sometimes a burst of flavour can be preferable to each mouthful being the same.  Your choice.

Next for the tostadas.  I've been meaning to make these forever since I first laid my hands on my copy of Thomasina Miers' Mexican Food Made Simple.  But 11 months have passed and despite trying a new recipe every day, I've still almost failed to get round to it.  Even in my adult life, I am metaphorically doing my homework on the bus on the way to school*.

Making round ones is a little bit wasteful but they look good on the plate if you have guests and I believe that the traditional shape is round.  I'm sure real South Americans/Mexicans make them from scratch and so can make them small and round straight away.  I chose the lazy way and started with a big shop-bought flour tortilla and cut circles with a pastry cutter.  In my humble opinion it would be a waste to go to the effort of making lovely soft tortillas and then toast them.  Tried this once, not again.

Miers deep fries her tostadas.  I wish I could do that and still be as slim as she is!  So I adopted my favourite alternative to fried bread-based things.  A squirt of olive Fry-Light and into the oven on 200c (fan) until they go brown and crispy.

A word of warning to dog owners.  Always replace the caps on spray bottles left in the kitchen.  I very nearly had tostadas flavoured with the stuff we use to stop the dogs biting the woodwork as the bottles look the same when you're as blind as a bat and someone (naming no names) has left both of them next to the cooker with the lids off.

Once the tostadas were baked, I topped each one with a spoon of the chimichurri, sprinkled on some feta (closest you'll get to Queso Fresco in deepest Wiltshire) and hey presto.  Lunch.

*I was actually a girly swot at school and always did my homework after tea the night I got it.  How things change.

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