Thursday, June 20, 2019

Thai Scallop Tostadas

Back in 2010, the food truck trend was in full swing here in Austin, and it hasn’t stopped. That’s the year The Peached Tortilla truck appeared on the scene. I believe the first time I visited it was at a craft beer festival, and I remember the Asian flavors meet American and Tex-Mex street food vibe. Since then, some food trucks have transitioned into restaurants, others continue as trucks, and several have come and gone. The Peached Tortilla has evolved to include a restaurant right in my neighborhood as well as a location at the airport, a catering business, and an event space. And now, there’s a cookbook of which I received a review copy. The book includes classic and current dishes from the business as well as some of author and founder Eric Silverstein’s childhood favorites and some dishes inspired by his mother’s cooking. Silverstein had the unique experience of being born in Tokyo to his Chinese-American mother and Jewish-American father before the family moved to Atlanta, Georgia when he was 11. There’s a lot of varied inspiration for the recipes here. I’m always drawn to Laksa recipes, and the one here looks delicious with the homemade paste of chiles, herbs, and spices and the mix of shrimp stock, coconut milk, and fish sauce. Another favorite of mine is shrimp toast, and I’ll be turning back to the page with Mom’s Shrimp Toast served with Thai Chili Dipping Sauce. There are burgers with sauces and toppings, a hot dog, and even a tempura fish burger. But, the Asian Street Tacos chapter really grabbed my attention. The Banh Mi Taco and Pad Thai Taco make appearances as well as the Kimchi Queso and Roasted Cauliflower Taco. But, it was the Thai Shrimp Tostadas that called out to me first. 

Although in the book it is shrimp tostadas, the day I planned to make them scallops happened to be on sale and I couldn’t resist. I’ve made kimchi tacos before, but I hadn’t extended Asian flavors into tostada making. And, I love making tostadas. This one is built on a base of Thai slaw made with purple and green cabbage, julienned carrots, green onions, cilantro, and Thai Peanut Dressing. The scallops were tossed with more of the Thai Peanut Dressing before being sauteed, and I cut them into pieces after they were cooked. My preferred method for crisping tortillas for tostadas is to toast them under the broiler with just a brushing of oil and flipping them once browned on top. It’s quicker, easier, and uses a lot less oil than frying. The tostadas were built with a layer of slaw topped with chunks of scallops and garnished with cilantro leaves, chopped peanuts, and Sriracha. 

This immediately became my summer tostada of choice. Sometimes I make vegan tostadas with refried beans, avocado, chiles, and lettuce, and other times I top them with shrimp or fish. This was a delightfully different approach. It was light and lively with the slaw and all those delicious flavors in the peanut sauce. And, any shellfish, fish, chicken, or tofu would be great here. This just guarantees I’ll be bringing home even more tortillas than usual. 

Thai Shrimp (or Scallop) Tostadas 
Reprinted with permission from The Peached Tortilla: Modern Asian Comfort Food from Tokyo to Texas © 2019 Eric Silverstein. Published by Sterling Epicure. Photography © Carli Rene/InkedFingers.  

Serves 4 

2 cups purple cabbage, shredded thinly on a mandoline 
1⁄2 cup green cabbage, shredded thinly on a mandoline 
3⁄4 cup carrots, peeled and julienned 
1⁄4 cup green onions, sliced on a 1⁄4-inch-wide bias 
1⁄4 cup fresh cilantro leaves 
3 tablespoons Thai Peanut Dressing (recipe to follow) 
Kosher salt 
Freshly ground black pepper 

TO MAKE THE THAI SLAW In a medium-size mixing bowl, toss together the purple and green cabbage, carrots, green onions, cilantro, and Thai Peanut Dressing. Add salt and pepper to taste. Set the mixture aside. 

2 quarts + 1 tablespoon vegetable oil 
8 (5-inch) corn tortillas 
1⁄4 teaspoon kosher salt 
1 cup (approximately 1 1⁄4 pounds) shrimp, shelled, deveined, and chopped into 1⁄2-inch pieces 
1⁄4 cup Thai Peanut Dressing 
Asian Slaw 
1⁄4 cup cilantro, chopped 
2 tablespoons roasted peanuts 
1⁄4 cup Sriracha Sauce 
1⁄2 lime, cut into wedges 

1. Place the 2 quarts of oil in a Dutch oven or deep cast iron pan. Bring the oil to 350°F. 
2. When the oil is at temperature, fry the tortillas for 2–3 minutes or until they are a light golden brown. Remove the tortillas from the hot oil with a pair of tongs and set them to dry on a plate covered with a paper towel. Immediately season the tortillas with the kosher salt. 
3. In a medium-size bowl, mix the chopped shrimp with the Thai Peanut Dressing. 
4. Place the 1 tablespoon of oil in a medium-size skillet over medium heat. Once the oil starts to shimmer, add the shrimp to the skillet and cook for 3–4 minutes. Since the shrimp is already chopped, it should cook relatively quickly. 
5. Layer two fried tortillas on a plate, so that one covers a third of the other. Spread a portion of the Thai Slaw on top of the tortilla, then layer 1⁄4 cup of the cooked shrimp on top of the Thai Slaw, making sure to cover it evenly. 
6. Garnish the Thai Shrimp Tostada with the Thai Peanut Dressing, cilantro, roasted peanuts, and a little bit of Sriracha. Serve the tostadas with a lime wedge. 

Thai Peanut Dressing 
Makes about 2 cups 
1 cup plus 1 1⁄2 tablespoons vegetable oil 
2 cloves garlic, peeled 
2 Thai Chilies 
1⁄2 cup peanuts, roasted 
2 tablespoons Shrimp Paste 
1⁄4 cup lime juice 
2 1⁄2 tablespoons Fish Sauce 
3 tablespoons sugar 

1. Place a small skillet over low heat and add 1 1⁄2 tablespoons of the oil. Sauté the garlic for 2–3 minutes until it starts to brown and become aromatic. Add the Thai chilies and sauté them for another 45 seconds to 1 minute. 
2. Place the garlic and Thai chilies into a blender and add the peanuts, shrimp paste, lime juice, fish sauce, and sugar. Blend all the ingredients together. Add the remaining oil slowly and continue to puree the mixture. Be patient when adding the oil; otherwise the dressing will separate.

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  1. I am always a fan of Thai food and happen to LOVE scallops too. These are a perfect treat for me.

  2. So much flavor! These Thai inspired tacos sound amazing.

  3. Sounds like a very scrumptious meal ��

  4. I sometimes crisp tortillas in the microwave, but like your broiler method - definitely will be try that. TONS of flavor in this dish -- looks really good. Thanks!

  5. I love everything about these tostadas, Lisa! I'd love shrimp or scallops, the sauce and the slaw!! So yummy.

  6. Oh Lisa, I am loving the Thai flavors in this so tasty! Thanks for the recipe...have a great rest of the week!


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