Grilled Chicken and Tomatillo Tostada
Chicken tostadas generally call for either sliced avocado or guacamole to add a smooth, creamy element to the dish. We decided to mix things up a bit and use a sauce made from tangy tomatillos instead. Tomatillos quickly cook down to a thick, smooth sauce and their citrusy flavor offsets the spicy rub on the chicken quite nicely. As a shortcut, you can use pre-cooked chicken from the supermarket instead of grilling your own, but be sure to make your salsa fresh for best flavor.
- 4 6-inch corn tortillas
- 1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breasts
- 2 tablespoons Southwest-style seasoning blend (store-bought or see below)
- 2 jalapeño peppers, seeded and finely chopped, divided
- 2 medium tomatoes, seeded and chopped
- 1-1/2 tablespoons fresh cilantro, chopped
- 2 scallions, thinly sliced
- Juice of 1 lime, divided
- 1 teaspoon sugar (or agave nectar)
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
- 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
- 1/4 cup onion, chopped
- 1/2 lb tomatillos (about 6 small), chopped
- 4 ounces Monterey jack cheese grated
- Shredded lettuce
- Sour cream
Crisp the tortillas: Preheat the oven to 375°F. Place the tortillas on a baking sheet in a single layer and bake until crisp, 8 to 12 minutes. Remove from the oven and set aside.
Season the chicken: Preheat a gas or charcoal grill. Rub the chicken breasts liberally on both sides with the Southwest spice blend and set aside at room temperature until ready to grill.
Prepare the salsa: In a bowl, combine 1/2 of the chopped jalapeños with the tomatoes, scallions, 1/2 of the lime juice, sugar and cilantro. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Cook the tomatillos: Heat the vegetable oil in a pan over medium heat. Add the garlic and onion and sauté, stirring frequently, until the onion is translucent and the garlic fragrant. Add the chopped tomatillos and the remaining lime juice. Cook until the tomatillos break down into a thick sauce, about 5 to 7 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Grill the chicken: Oil the grill grates (see recipe notes) and grill the chicken, until just cooked through, 4 to 6 minutes per side. Transfer to a cutting board, allow to rest for at least 5 minutes, then slice into 1/4-inch thick slices.
Assemble the tostadas: Scatter a small amount of cheese on each tortilla. Top with a portion of chicken, then some of the tomatillo mixture. Add the remaining cheese and return the tortillas to the oven until the cheese has melted. Transfer to serving plates, top with shredded lettuce, salsa and a dollop of sour cream. Serve immediately.
Makes 4 servings (knife and fork may be required)
Southwest seasoning blend:
In a small bowl mix 1 tablespoon each of cumin, sweet paprika, and ground coriander. Add 1 teaspoon each of cayenne, garlic powder and onion powder. Add a few grinds of black pepper and mix well. Makes about 1/4 cup.
An easy way to oil your grill grates is to fold a sheet of paper towel into a small square, dip it in vegetable oil and, using grill tongs, rub it on the grates just before you add the food to the grill. If possible, use peanut oil as it has a higher smoke point than canola. Avoid using olive oil for this task.