Black Bean Tostada Stacks with Poblano-Jalapeno Crema

     When I came up with the idea of making black bean tostada stacks as an appetizer I could picture in my mind what they would look like.  And pretty much they look exactly like I hoped but I must admit it took a few tries to get it right.  The first time I made it I used 6-inch white corn tortillas and it was beautiful but really too big for one person as an appetizer and then when I tried to cut into it the pretty presentation was completely lost.  But the good news was the flavors were spot on.  So I re-worked it and this time added some yellow zucchini into the recipe (fresh from a friend’s garden) but kept the rest of the recipe the same except I cut the corn tortillas (using a 2 1/2 inch round cutter) to make them more approachable as a single stack per person kind of appetizer.  And they turned out soooo yummy.  I love them and have now eaten my weight in bean tostadas (all in the name of recipe testing).
     A couple of small recipe notes to think about.  First, when you are caramelizing the onions take the time to cook them over medium low heat for the full 15-18 minutes to get that great flavor.  Secondly, try to find white corn tortillas and not a wheat/corn mixture.  They are easy to find but I accidentally bought a corn one with a little bit of wheat in it the first time and it didn’t crisp up as well.  Lastly, these tasty morsels are a little messy so have plenty of napkins on hand but I promise they are worth it.  Oh and the recipe for the Roasted Poblano-Jalapeno Crema makes more than you need for this recipe but you can refrigerate for a day or two and use on everything from steak or burgers to your morning eggs or even a turkey sandwich.


Roasted Poblano  & Jalapeno Crema

1.  Roast the poblano and jalapeno pepper under a broiler until it’s charred on all sides (carefully turning over with tongs).  Remove and place in a bowl and cover with plastic wrap to cool slightly. Remove the outside charred skins and scoop out the seeds, leaving only the flesh of the peppers (wear gloves if needed).
2.  In a food processor combine the roasted peppers with the remaining ingredients and pulse until smooth.  Place in a squeeze bottle, if you have one.

Black Bean Tostada Stacks
1.  In a medium skillet set over medium low heat sauté the onions in 1 Tablespoon of canola oil with a pinch of sugar until golden brown, approximately 15-18 minutes. 
2. Increase the heat to medium high and add the garlic and zucchini to the pan for approximately 30 seconds.  Add in the beans and the cumin, chili powder, cayenne, and salt and pepper and stir until heated through.  If mixture is dry add the extra Tablespoon of oil.  Set aside or if making ahead this can be refrigerated overnight.
3.  Heat a medium skillet over medium heat and add in the 1/4 cup canola oil.  When hot start cooking the corn tortillas in batches, approximately 30 to 45 seconds per side.  Don’t turn the heat up too high or they will burn.  Too low and they will be soggy.
4.  Preheat oven to 350 and line a baking sheet with parchment.  Assemble all off the bottom layers on the baking sheet and top with approximately 1 Tablespoon bean mixture and then a sprinkle of cilantro and a generous sprinkle of Cojita cheese.  Next top the mixture with another fried tortilla and then more bean mixture and cilantro and then either Monterey jack or pepper jack cheese.  Top with final fried shell and top that layer with Monterey Jack or pepper jack cheese only.  Bake for 5 minutes until just starting to melt.  Place under the broiler for another 30 seconds to 1 minute until the top is golden brown.  Serve with sliced avocado, limes and garnish the plate with crumbled Cojita cheese.

Roasted Poblano  & Jalapeno Crema
1 medium poblano pepper
1 medium jalapeno pepper
1 clove garlic
2 Tablespoons cilantro
1/2 cup sour cream
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1 lemon, zested and juiced
1/2 teaspoon salt

Black Bean Tostada Stacks
1 medium sweet onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 teaspoons sugar
1/4 cup plus 2 Tablespoons canola oil,  divided
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground chili powder
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 -15oz. can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 yellow squash, diced
2 Tablespoons cilantro, chopped (plus more for garnish)
1 pkg (18 count) – white corn tortillas
1 cup Cojita cheese (or plain feta) (plus more for garnish
1 1/2 cups grated Monterey jack or pepper jack cheese
1 avocado, sliced (for garnish)
Fresh limes, for garnish

Makes 12 (2-inch round) tostadas

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