Crab Tostadas

MG and I confronted two big questions today.

First… what do you make for dinner that will be satisfying and delicious, but super-easy because you started drinking champagne at four o’clock in the the afternoon and don’t have the energy to attempt anything even remotely ambitious?

Second… is it possible to eat a fantastic deep-fried tortilla loaded down with crab meat, jalapeño, avocado, tomato, onion, lime, and cotija cheese ONE-HANDED and NOT drop morsels onto the table?

The answer to the first question: Crab Tostadas.

The answer to the second question: No Fucking Way.

MG and I spent the morning at our favorite breakfast spot, Vintage Enoteca on Sunset Blvd. in Hollywood, then on to the Fairfax-Beverly Farmer’s Market where I loaded up on about thirty dollars worth of produce… and then back to Vintage for some 4pm mimosas and champagne mixed with blueberry simple sugar.

I don’t know what the name of this drink is, and I’m not sure that the owners of Vintage Enoteca have given it a name either… at least not one that might catch on, like Harvey Wallbanger or Bloody Mary.  They might want to consider naming it after me, because I’m about to start ordering it on a regular basis.

The recipe is easy…  champagne, blueberry-flavored simple sugar (which I didn’t know existed), and three fresh blueberries tossed in for a glam factor.

The narrow glass kept the champagne fizzing nicely and the blueberries bouncing gleefully between the top and the bottom of the drink, which created quite a show.

MG and I were truly mesmerized by the beauty of it. If you’ve ever looked at a lava lamp and thought to yourself, “… if only drinkable…,” this is the beverage for you.

It’s not the kind of drink I normally go for… at all…  but I loved it… so, I had a couple of them… but I wasn’t ready for the effect that champagne would have on me… or the bubbles… nope, I wasn’t ready for them… and before I knew it… I was singing… along to Bon Jovi’s “Wanted Dead or Alive” pumping through the restaurant via satellite radio… quite loudly.

Hi.  My name is Gary.  I’m half in the bag at 4:30 on a Saturday afternoon.  And I like Bon Jovi.

But here’s something good for YOU to know!  If you ever find yourself half in the bag at 4:30 on a Saturday afternoon listening to Bon Jovi, the recipe I’m about to give you is perfect for a dinner you can still manage to pull off successfully.  And you’ll most likely score some major kudos to boot!  I know, because I did it!

Yes, it does involve some knife-work, so if you’re still feeling the “champagne-wobbles,” you might want to nap or bless yourself with a cold shower before heading into your kitchen. But prep is minimal, clean-up is super-fast, and the payoff is wonderfully flavor-packed and completely satisfying.  So get yourself soused, pull out the knives, and chop up the veggies… it’s crab tostadas!  The perfect meal for the mildly inebriated!

Crab Tostadas
1 pound lump crabmeat
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 tablespoons mayonnaise
3 tablespoons finely chopped red onion (I substituted a white onion)
1 jalapeño, stemmed and finely chopped
3 plum tomatoes, cored, seeded, and chopped
1/2 cup crumbled cotija cheese
1/4 cup lightly packed cilantro leaves, chopped
2 limes, finely grated zest and juice
1 lime, sliced
Salt, black pepper, hot sauce to taste
Sour Cream
8 flat tostada shells, packaged or homemade
1 avocado, pitted and thinly sliced
Cilantro sprigs

Drain the crab meat and pick through with your fingers to remove any cartilage.
Add the oil, mayonnaise, onion, jalapeño, tomatoes, cilantro, and lime zest and juice to the crabmeat. Gently fold (or toss) all ingredients until well blended. Season well with salt, pepper and hot sauce.

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 and the cotija cheese. Serve with lime wedges and sour cream on the side.

The next version of this meal will include some pinto beans and some chopped pickled jalapeños WITH seeds thrown in with the crab mixture, because I don’t think this meal would have suffered from some additional heat.  If extra heat isn’t your style, keep the recipe as is, and you’ll love it.

And a note… this meal is good, but messy.  Make sure you advise your diners to eat directly over their plates.  MG thought he had learned enough from his first tostada to manage devouring his second without dropping anything onto the plate or table below him, but a structural failure in the tostada itself proved to ruin his master plan, along with his clean wrist.

Poor baby.

I love you, Michael Granberry.

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