Shrimp Tostadas With Black Bean-Corn Salsa and Spiced Rice

Shrimp tostadas are made with lots of crisp vegetables, vibrant salsas and fresh herbs, while frequently adding seafood for the protein

I was a late bloomer when it came to appreciating Mexican cuisine.

The traditional cheese-meat-bean-tortilla combos were often too dense and gooey for my taste, and it took me well into my adulthood to develop a liking for cilantro, that famously divisive herb.

Little did I know that when we moved to California from Denmark, my children’s favorite fast food would become a burrito.

When we arrived in California, where Spanish is easily spoken and south of the border cuisine flourishes, the flavors and subtleties of Mexican food grew on me, with its potent spices, rich moles and myriad chilies.

Before too long, I found myself devouring avocados like fruit and replacing pizza with burritos and tacos as kid-friendly fast food.

At home, I improvised and gallantly made my own renditions of Mexican-inspired food, lighter and brighter to my taste, with lots of crisp vegetables, vibrant salsas and fresh herbs, while frequently adding seafood for the protein, resulting in a Californian-Mexican hybrid, which pleased everyone.

We ate these tostadas the other night, served buffet-style, so everyone could layer their own toppings. I marinated shrimp in lime for the protein and made cumin-spiced rice, along with a fresh corn and black bean salsa that could easily stand alone as a salad.

If you have access to fresh corn, you shouldn’t hesitate to eat the uncooked kernels cut straight from the cob. They are juicy, sweet and crisp with no cooking required and a standout in any salsa or salad. To remove the kernels from the cob, lay the husked cob on a cutting board and carefully slice off the kernels lengthwise with a chef’s knife, rotating the cob as you go. Sweep the kernels and any liquid into the bowl for the salsa. (If fresh corn is not available, defrosted frozen corn will do the trick. Simply defrost the corn; no need to cook it.)

Lynda Balslev is the co-author of “Almonds: Recipes, History, Culture” (Gibbs Smith, 2014).

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