Francisco Alejandri, who runs Agave y Aguacate, a tiny but zesty takeout stand in Kensington Market, trained at the Stratford Chef School. He incorporates this training with his passion for authentic Mexican food. His perfectionism, making everything from scratch, is what makes this dish delicious. To make the tostados you need to make both guacamole and guajillo salsa - both easy recipes.
Mr. Alejandri makes the guacamole fresh for each order.
Guajillo peppers are dried peppers that make a salsa with lots of flavour but won't leave your mouth burning. The peppers need to be seared for a few seconds to release their taste. This salsa is also nice with eggs, cheese and fish.
Ready time: 45 minutes
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
4 corn tortillas
1 cup guacamole recipe (follows)
1 plum tomato, thinly sliced
1 cup crumbled queso fresco or other feta-like cheese
1 recipe guajillo salsa recipe (follows)
4 sprigs coriander
1 tablespoon coarsely chopped serrano or jalapeno peppers
1 teaspoon grated garlic
6 stalks coriander with stems and leaves
1 ripe avocado
Salt to taste
1 to 2 tablespoons lime juice (or to taste)
8 guajillo dried chilies
1 pound plum tomatoes, sliced ½-inch thick
¼ cup chopped onion
1½ teaspoons chopped garlic
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Working in batches, add tortillas and fry for about 2 minutes a side or until slightly puffed and crisp. Drain on paper towels. Set aside. (Or buy ready-fried tostada shells at the supermarket.)
Divide tortillas among serving plates. Top with guacamole, tomato and cheese, then streak the guajillo salsa over. Garnish with coriander sprigs.
Grind peppers, garlic and coriander together in a mini-chop or mortar and pestle, adding a little lime juice if necessary.
Mash avocado to a rough paste. Add chili mixture and stir to combine. Season with salt and lime juice to taste.
Heat a non-stick skillet over high heat. Add chilies and, using a spatula to press down on them, heat for about 10 seconds a side or until warmed and softened. Remove from pan and coarsely chop, removing stem end. Shake out the seeds and use only the skins. Set aside.
Add tomatoes to pan in a single layer and cook for 2 to 3 minutes, turning once or until slightly charred. Scrape tomatoes into a food processor along with the chilies, onion and garlic and process until slightly chunky. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Makes about 1½ cups