Creating recipes isn't a pastime—it's a passion. And a lot of fun.

The rules are few: Use 99% fresh ingredients (or thereabouts); make the dish simple but flavorful; make the dish flavorful but simple; be creative, not silly.

With this blog, I want to share new recipes, along with tips on ingredients and preparation, and, hopefully, show new cooks (and non-cooks) the pleasure in setting the table with a delicious homemade meal. The Briny Lemon is about fresh, simple, flavorful ingredients and easy cooking methods that help you bring the best to your family table. Your comments are welcome!

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Ground Beef Tostadas with Avocado-Corn Salsa

Tostadas make easy, casual, everyday dinners that bring a lot of flavor with little effort. You can easily substitute ground chicken or turkey for the beef in this recipe, but when fresh corn is in season, make the most of it—canned or frozen just can’t compete with the delicious sweet taste and crunchy texture of fresh.

It’s easy to remove the kernels from an ear of corn. Stand the ear in a shallow bowl and gently scrape down the sides just beneath the kernels with a large, sharp knife. Take it slowly so that the kernels land instead of fly.

Tip: Put together all the salsa ingredients except the avocado and let it chill while you prepare the tostadas. Then peel, chop, and stir in the avocado just before serving—no browning!

Makes 8 5-inch tostados


For the Salsa
  • fresh corn kernels from 2 ears (about 3/4 cup)
  • 2 scallions, thinly sliced
  • 1 jalapeno, finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup chopped red bell pepper
  • 1/4 cup chopped cilantro leaves
  • 2 tbsp fresh lime juice, divided
  • sea salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 large, firm-ripe avocado, peeled, pitted, and chopped
Salsa Ingredients
For the Tostadas
  • 8 5-inch corn tortillas
  • olive oil, for brushing, plus 1 tbsp
  • 1 lb 95% lean ground beef
  • 1 garlic clove, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 1 tsp Tabasco (or other hot sauce)
  • 1 tsp chile powder
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • sea salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • shredded cheddar cheese and sour cream for serving 

For the Salsa
  1. Fill a small saucepan halfway with water and bring to a boil. Add the corn kernels and boil 2 minutes until crisp-tender. Drain and let cool completely.
  2. Transfer the corn to a medium bowl and add the scallions, jalapeno, bell pepper, cilantro, and 1 tablespoon of lime juice. Season with salt and pepper and stir to combine. Cover and refrigerate 30 minutes.
  3. Stir in the avocado and remaining 1 tablespoon of lime juice just before serving. Re-season with salt and pepper, if desired.
Cooked Corn 
Corn Mixture 
Avocado Added to Salsa
For the Tostadas
  1. Preheat the oven to 400° F and line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Working in 2 batches, lay 4 tortillas on the baking sheet and brush both sides lightly with olive oil. Bake 5 minutes and turn. Continue baking until crisp and golden, 2-3 minutes longer. Remove and let cool. Repeat with the remaining 4 tortillas. 
  3. Heat a large skillet over medium heat and add 1 tablespoon of olive oil, swirling to coat. Add the ground beef, garlic, and onion and cook, breaking up the meat, until just cooked through and the liquid is absorbed, 8-9 minutes.
  4. Add the Tabasco, chile powder, and cumin and season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring frequently, 2 minutes.
Tortillas Ready to Bake
Baked Corn Tortillas
Beef Mixture Beginning to Cook
Cooked Beef Mixture
To serve, divide the ground beef mixture on top of the tostadas. Top each with salsa, cheese, and a dollop of sour cream. (Alternatively, serve the ingredients separately and let your guests build their own tostadas.)

Ground Beef Tostadas with Avocado-Corn Salsa

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