By Mary Sue Milliken, Susan Feniger, Helene Siegel, Cesare Casella, Jack Bishop, Tom Lacalamita, Heather Dismore, Martin Yan, Dede Wilson, Joan H. Moravek, Kristin Eddy

In a tostada, spread the beans out to all the edges and scatter the other components evenly. Each bite should deliver a combination of flavors. Who wants a mouthful of plain tortilla with those wonderful tastes congregating in the middle?

[Credit: ©iStockphoto.com/StephanieFrey]
Credit: ©iStockphoto.com/StephanieFrey

Preparation time: 25 minutes

Cooking time: 15 minutes

Yield: 4 servings (8 tostadas)

3⁄4 pound cooked, shredded chicken

1 small red onion, diced

1 bunch cilantro leaves, chopped (about 1⁄2 cup)

1 small or 1⁄2 large head romaine lettuce, finely shredded

1 medium tomato, cored, seeded, and diced

1⁄2 cup (2 ounces) grated añejo cheese

1⁄2 cup red wine vinegar

3⁄4 cup olive oil

Salt and pepper to taste

3⁄4 cup vegetable oil for frying

8 large (6-inch) corn tortillas or 8 prepared tostada shells

1 cup refried black beans or good-quality canned refried beans

Garnishes: 3 tablespoons Crema and 1 large avocado or 2 medium avocados, peeled, seeded, and thinly sliced

  1. Combine the chicken, onion, and cilantro in a medium bowl.

  2. In another bowl, combine the lettuce, tomato, and cheese.

  3. To make the dressing, combine the red wine vinegar, olive oil, and salt and pepper in a small jar or bottle.

    Cover and shake vigorously to combine, or whisk the ingredients together.

  4. Pour the vegetable oil to a depth of 1⁄2 inch in a small frying pan. Heat the oil over moderate heat.

    Fry the tortillas, using tongs to turn them over so that the tortillas are crisp on both sides. Drain on paper towels.

  5. Heat the beans through in a small pot over low heat, stirring often to prevent sticking. Add some water if the beans are dry.

  6. To assemble, spread a thin layer of beans on each crisp tortilla. Drizzle with about 1 teaspoon Crema and top with a few avocado slices.

    Pour enough dressing on the reserved chicken mixture to coat generously and toss well. Scatter over the tortillas. Toss the remaining dressing with the lettuce mixture and generously cover each tostada with it.