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Crab Tostadas

Updated: Apr 18, 2019

Crab Tostadas, Simple Food Big Flavor

One of the many treats in the markets of Mexico that I crave is the tostada, a crispy tortilla piled with anything from chicken in mole to tender chunks of octopus. I especially love when it's topped with sweet, delicate crab, and this simple rendition, made extra lively by my Roasted Tomato-Chile de Arbol Salsa, is full of that market flavor.

Servings: 6

Prep Time: 2.5 hours

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Total Time: 3 hours



Roasted Tomato-Chile de Arbol Salsa

  • 1 pound plum tomatoes (about 4)

  • 3 to 6 chiles de arbol, depending on how spicy you like it

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

  • 1 medium white onion, chopped

  • 4 garlic cloves, crushed

  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro

  • 1 teaspoon salt

  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Crab Tostadas

  • 1/2 pound fresh Dungeness crabmeat or jumbo lump crab

  • 1/3 cup crema fresca (preferably Cacique brand) or creme fraîche*

  • 1/4 cup finely chopped fresh chives

  • 1/4 teaspoon ground white pepper

  • Juice of 1/2 lime (about 1 tablespoon)

  • Salt to taste

  • 6 tostadas, purchased or homemade (see step 5)

  • Cilantro leaves, picked off their stems for garnish

*NOTE: If you can't find either crema fresca or creme fraîche, make your own! The day before you begin this recipe, whisk together 1/3 cup heavy cream with 2 tablespoons sour cream. Cover the surface with a plastic wrap and let it sit at room temperature for 8 hours or overnight, until the cream thickens.



Roasted Tomato-Chile de Arbol Salsa Ingredients

Roasted Tomato-Chile de Arbol Salsa

  1. Preheat the broiler

  2. Put the tomatoes on a baking sheet and broil, turning occasionally, until the tomatoes are nice and charred, 10 to 12 minutes. Take the tomatoes out, let them cool just until you can handle them, slip off the skins and cut out the tough cores. Transfer the tomatoes to a big bowl (don't you dare forget the tomato juice that has leaked out and reduced to awesomeness on the baking sheet), then roughly chop them.

  3. While the tomatoes are broiling, heat a dry skillet over medium heat and toast the chiles (in batches, if necessary), flipping them over occasionally, until they just begin to smoke, about 5 minutes. Set them aside in a bowl.

  4. Put the olive oil, onion, and garlic in a saucepan, set it over medium heat, and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion is soft, about 7 minutes. Add the toasted chiles, tomatoes, and 2 cups water, bring to a simmer, and cook for about 12 minutes, so the flavors come together. Let it cool a bit.

  5. Carefully transfer the mixture to a blender. Add the cilantro, salt, and pepper and puree until the mixture is very smooth.

  6. Pour the mixture through a medium-mesh sieve into a bowl. Serve at room temperature or slightly chilled. Store the salsa in the refrigerator, tightly covered, for up to to a week, or in the freezer for a month.

Crab Tostadas

  1. Put the crabmeat in a bowl and pick over it carefully, removing any bits of shell. Flake it gently with a fork to break up the biggest chunks, but don't mash it into a paste. Gently fold in the crema fresca, chives, pepper, lime juice, and Roasted Tomato-Chile de Arbol Salsa. Season with salt to taste.

  2. To serve, divide the crab mixture among the tostadas and garnish with fresh cilantro leaves. (If you like, you can make mini tostadas. Cut regular size tortillas into a few circles: invert a cup and trace around it with a knife.)

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