Heirloom Bean and Bacon Tostada
Serves 6. Recipe is by Mary Sue Milliken, of Los Angeles and Las Vegas.
11/2 cups dried heirloom beans, a couple different varieties
3 to 4 bay leaves
1 small onion, cut into thick slices
2 cups trimmed green beans and yellow wax beans, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
4 ozs. slab bacon or 4 thick slices bacon, cut into 1⁄16-inch batonettes
2 tbls. extra-virgin olive oil
3 tbls. sherry vinegar
1/2 tbl. honey
1/2 tbl. Dijoin mustard
1 to 2 canned chipotle chilies, stemmed, seeded and minced
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
3 to 4 jalapeño chilies (red and green), stemmed, seeded and finely diced
3 green oinons, trimmed and thinkly sliced
6 (6-inch) corn tortillas, fried until crispy
11/2 cups frisée lettuce, torn into pieces, for serving
1 ripe avocado, halved, seeded, peeled and sliced for serving
6 pieces crispy Serrano ham, (optional) for serving (see note)
1 bunch cilantro
1 lime, juiced
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1. Cooking each variety in a different pot, cover beans with water. Add bay leaves and onion slices, dividing evenly between pots. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat, simmering gently, covered, for 45 to 75 minutes or until beans are cooked through and are creamy inside. Remove from heat and cool to room temperature. Remove bay leaves and onion, and drain thoroughly.
2. Meanwhile, fill a saucepan with water and bring to a boil with a very large pinch of salt. Cook green and yellow beans until just tender, 3 to 4 minutes. Drain and scatter on a platter lined with paper towels. Set aside to chill in the refrigerator.
3. When all beans are ready, fry bacon in a skillet until crisp, then drain on paper towels. Transfer a spoonful of bacon fat to a large mixing bowl. Add olive oil, vinegar, honey, mustard, chipotle chilies, salt and pepper. Whisk to form a vinaigrette. Add all cooked beans, jalapeño chilies, green onions, and crispy bacon and gently toss to evenly coat. Taste and adjust seasonings with salt, pepper and vinegar as needed.
4. For the Cilantro Aïoli: In a food processor, combine cilantro, lime juice, salt and pepper. Pulse until cilantro is very finely chopped and a paste begins to form. Add mayonnaise and combine thoroughly.
5. To serve, squirt or spread a little Cilantro Aïoli on each crispy tostada and top with frisée lettuce. Mound bean salad mixture on top and garnish with avocado slices and a crispy Serrano ham slice if desired. Serve immediately.
Note: Cook thinly sliced pieces of Serrano ham between 2 cookie sheets in a 300-degree oven for about 10 minutes, or until crispy.