I was super inspired by our trip to Spain, and I’ve been bringing those culinary ideas into my kitchen. The focus of the moment is variations of tostas. In other words, things on toast. But on the fancy side.
This creation is a mash up of a New Orleans po’ boy with a Spanish tapas base. It takes some time to do this dish–it involves building layers–so it’s better for your days off, when you can devote more attention to making a meal.
To begin, I took a demi baguette and split it down the middle to form the base of the tostas. Then, I slathered olive oil over the bread slices. That beautiful oil will seep into the pores of the bread and create a delicious, subtly unctuous surprise when you bite into the tostas.
Olives are next. I got the good kind; green olives stuffed with blue cheese. I minced a handful of olives and spread them over the bread slices.
Bell peppers are typical on tostas in Spain, so I sliced up a green bell pepper and cooked it in olive oil until the texture was nice and soft. You want it to yield easily when you bite. When ready, lay the slices evenly over the base of olives on the bread.
For the star of the tostas, the oysters, I soaked them in half and half (you can use any type or milk or cream; I just happened to have only half and half in the fridge) for 30 min., then coated them in a mix of regular flour and corn meal with salt and pepper. I fried them until the coating was golden, then distributed them on top of the bell pepper slices on the bread.
The final topping (a French element, really) was thick slices of brie on top of the oysters.
I put the oven broiler on low and put the tostas in the oven for 5-10 min. It’s ready when the brie is melted.
A word on technique: to prep the layers of this dish, timing must be kept in mind. I suggest soaking the oysters in milk first, which gives you 30 min. to do the rest of the prep. In that time, you can slice and cook the bell pepper, then slice and prep the bread with olive oil and olives. When the pepper slices are ready, you can place them on the tostas, then use the same pan to fry the oysters. Then, layer on the brie over the oysters, toast the whole thing under the broiler, and…mm…foodie heaven. So good, I had to close my eyes and savor it.