I leafed through my February issue of Bon Appetit, looking for something to make that I wouldn’t have to shop for, something I magically had all the ingredients for. And then I stumbled upon the Arctic Char Tostadas, which can also be made with salmon, a fish which was lurking in my very own freezer. “Aha!” I thought, “Something I can whip up out of my own larder.”
Well. Three grocery runs later, I finally gave up trying to get all the ingredients I needed and improvised, because clearly grocery organization is not my strong suit. I mean, one look at my pantry with rice noodles and microwave popcorn cozying up together, or a peek into my freezer in which cookie dough and a turkey are being companionable with some old hamburger buns, and I should know this. But I digress.
Tostadas are pretty easy in theory. I mean, you take a crisp tortilla shell and put things on top and there you have it- the toasts of Latin America, if you will (Yes Philip, toasts are a thing and no they are not just sandwiches, thou plebeian). I actually grew up requesting enchiladas for all my birthdays, which were nothing like the enchiladas you’ll find at your church basement potluck and a whole lot more like these tostadas, except topped with refried beans and lemony cabbage and tangy tomato sauce and now I’m hungry. All that to say, tostadas are not a new concept to me.
However, cooking fish is definitely new for me. Fish was not something I liked as a kid, and I still rarely, if ever, crave it, although I will happily fall to if given a plate of fish tacos (Who wouldn’t?). I’d rather eat cabbage and peas than fish, which serves my grocery budget very nicely, but I girded up the metaphorical loins and decided to try my hand at salmon for these fancy little delicacies. The recipe instructed me to bake it for 8-10 minutes, so I did. Raw. Another 10 or so. Still a solid mass of pink. I cooked and cooked and cooked that dratted fish, and nothing much seemed to change, and so finally we ate it, still a little raw for my taste, and please don’t ever ask me to make fish for you.
The premise of these tostadas is easy:
- Spread a shell with ricotta cheese.
- Top it with your baked salmon drenched in the vinaigrette you hopefully have all the ingredients for.
- Add a squeeze of lime, cilantro, capers, and serano chiles if your grocery store has them unlike mine.
Alas, one store was out of the chiles I needed. And then I forgot I needed ricotta, and also, the fish sauce required was suddenly nowhere to be found in my pantry. Sigh. I’m not even going to attempt writing up a recipe for these, because frankly, I did everything wrong. So go read the original here, and make them if you dare. Also, I’d advise a thorough shopping list beforehand. Don’t be like Rachel. 🙂 However, the roommate ate them happily enough, so I suppose the story has a happy ending after all. And don’t they look pretty? I think that’s worth something too.
Also, I learned something in my search to make the fateful vinaigrette without any fish sauce. I found that you can substitute either soy sauce or worcerstershire sauce for fish sauce. So I splashed a little of both into my vinaigrette and it turned out delicious, probably the best part of the meal. But of course, how can anything go wrong with a hill of freshly grated ginger in it? Here’s what is in the vinaigrette, which is delicious far beyond its intended use:
3 Tbsp. fish sauce, or a spash of soy sauce and a splash of worcestershire
1 cup rice vinegar
¼ cup sliced scallions or green onions
1 ½” piece ginger, peeled, finely grated
Salt to taste
Now that I’ve tried these, I want to spread everything in my pantry onto a ricotta-laden tortilla shell and see how it turns out. Fresh vegetables! Leftover turkey! Spicy chili sauce! Olives and tomatoes! Doesn’t that sound delicious?
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