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Crab Tostadas
From Simply Mexican, by Lourdes Castro

I often wonder if tostadas – crisp tortillas mounded with your choice of topping – were the first version of modern-day nachos. If so, these would definitely be called "supreme." Crunchy tortillas are layered with slices of creamy avocado and topped with a zesty crab salad to make the perfect appetizer.

You can buy commercial tostada shells or fry your own (see below). Commercial tostada shells are basically large tortilla chips. Buy your favorite brand, but try to find tostadas that are 6 to 9 inches wide, round, and flat.

While these tostadas make a great first course, you can also make smaller, bite-size ones to be served as hors d'oeuvres.

Another more casual option is to put the crab-meat mixture in a bowl or platter and serve the tortillas alongside, allowing your guests to make their own tostadas. In this case, dice the avocado and fold it into the crabmeat mixture.

Ingredients:

1 pound lump crabmeat
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 tablespoons mayonnaise
3 tablespoons finely chopped red onion
1 jalapeño, stemmed and finely chopped
3 plum tomatoes, cored, seeded, and chopped (see below)
1/4 cup lightly packed cilantro leaves, chopped
2 limes, finely grated zest and juice
Salt and black pepper
8 flat tostada shells, packaged or homemade
1 avocado, pitted and thinly sliced

For the Garnish

Cilantro sprigs
2 limes, quartered

Instructions:

Prepare the Crabmeat

Put the crabmeat in a bowl. Pick through it with your fingers to remove any cartilage.

Combine the Ingredients

Add the oil, mayonnaise, onion, jalapeno, tomatoes, cilantro, and lime zest and juice to the crabmeat. Using a rubber spatula or spoon, gently fold (or toss) all ingredients until well blended. Season well with salt and pepper.

Assemble and Serve

Top each tostada shell with a few slices of avocado, place a generous serving of the crabmeat mixture over it, and garnish with a sprig of cilantro. Serve each with a lime wedge.

Homemade Tostadas

To make homemade tostadas, purchase 6-inch corn tortillas. Pour 2 inches of oil into a shallow pan and heat over medium-high heat. When the oil is hot, add the tortillas, one at a time, and fry until golden brown on both sides. Remove from the pan, place on a paper towel-lined dish, and sprinkle with salt.

Seeding Tomatoes

To seed tomatoes, cut the tomato into quarters lengthwise then slice off the seedy pulp. Plum tomatoes are best for this recipe because they contain fewer seeds and less pulp than the round varieties.

Advance Preparation:

The crabmeat mixture can be made a day in advance and refrigerated in an airtight container.

Yield: Serves 8

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