Smoked Chipotle Pulled Pork Avocado Tostadas with Roasted Corn & Mango Salsa

I could have eaten 10 of these... and then 10 more.

I'm realizing my process for creating dishes is pretty complicated...
I come up with my recipes in pieces- usually finding inspiration somewhere starts me off and a flavor combination comes to mind for a certain component, so I jot down some ingredients until I think I have a pretty good idea of what I want. Then I start thinking about what would pair well with it textural and flavor wise. It usually takes about a week or two (or three) before something hits me. 
Like with this recipe, it all started out with the Roasted Corn & Mango Salsa- well actually it was supposed to be grilled corn but it was like a sauna out yesterday, so we had to settle on roasting it. 

And it still turned out delicious. 
At first I had veggie tacos in mind for the base, and then just leaving it as a salsa with homemade corn tortilla chips... 

A couple days ago my family was in downtown Hot Springs and we stepped into this Cuban restaurant for lunch. Everything there sounded amazing (Cuban food is one of my favorites). I ended up settling on a salad with guacamole, mango chutney (which I didn't even taste), broiled tilapia, and a pickled cucumber & onion salad. It sounded great at the time...
When it arrived it was so gorgeous and I was ready to dig in.

I mean look at that. 

I'm not saying it wasn't good, but it was just overwhelmingly smoky, and I love a good smoky and charred flavor. I couldn't taste anything else, though. Everyone else had great food and their presentation was amazing, I just ordered the wrong dish. 
However, I was instantly inspired. All these ingredients started popping up in my mind- chipotle, smoked pork, avocado, lime, cumin, agave... one after another. 

Finally, I get in the kitchen. This is where I mess around with spices, tweaking things, coming up with real measurements, and of course tasting lots of food. 

Now I'm not even a big pork fan but I'll eat ANYTHING if it's smoked. That's honestly my favorite cooking method for meat. My dad smoked the pork tenderloin for me and used his own mix of Mexican spices on it. 
And as far as the corn goes, roasting it might be my new favorite way to eat it. It had such a good charred flavor but still kept it's natural crisp sweetness. 
I may have eaten 3 of the extra ears while cooking last night...

I was originally planning on making this for just my family for dinner last night, then my parents told me they were having some friends over for a meeting and I was feeding them too. 

The pressure was on considering I had never put these ingredients together, or made homemade tostadas. Plus the last time I cooked for more people other than my family (besides Thanksgiving) was probably when we still lived in Nashville. Thankfully, it was a BIG hit!

Okay, so my frying skills aren't exactly great yet. And by that I mean the fire alarm may have gone off a few times...
But after a whole package of corn tortillas, a few blackened ones, I tested one out. 
It was amazing. That's all I can say.

Smoked Pulled Pork Avocado Tostadas
with Roasted Corn & Mango Salsa
Serves 8-10

  • Thin Corn Tortillas
  • Coconut Oil (for frying)
  • 2 Firm Mangos (scored into cubes)
  • 3 Medium Ears of Corn
  • 2 tbs. chopped cilantro + more for topping
  • 1 1/2 limes (all juice; 1 zest)
  • 2 tbs. melted coconut oil
  • 1 tsp. black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp. cumin, turmeric, smoked paprika
  • 1/4 tsp. ground red cayenne pepper
  • 1 tsp. agave nectar
  • 1/2 tsp. smokey salt blend (or 1 tsp. plain salt)
  • 3 Avocados (mashed)
  • 2 Smoked Pork Tenderloins (will most likely have some leftover)
  • 1 can of Chipotles in Adobo Sauce (roughly chop the chipotles)
  • 1 tsp. coconut sugar
  • 5-10 dashes Tabasco (depending on how spicy you want it- at least 5; even for a mild flavor)
  • 1 tsp. black pepper & sea salt
  • 1/2 lime (juice)

Pre-heat the oven to 350ยบ F.
Roast the corn in the husks for 30 minutes. Let cool, remove husks, and set temperature to a high broil. Brush each ear lightly with coconut oil. Place the ears right on the oven rack and broil until the corn begins to get a nice char on it, turning every few minutes (about 10-12 minutes total).

Shred the pork using a fork. Make a sauce you the last 5 ingredients and toss with the pork- it should be lightly coated. Set aside.

Cut the corn off the cob and toss with the mango cubes. Mix the dressing up using all ingredients starting with 1 1/2 limes juice & zest through 1/2 tsp. smokey salt blend. Toss the mango & corn with the dressing and 2 tbs. fresh cilantro. Refrigerate until ready to use.

For the tostadas heat enough coconut oil (canola/vegetable will work too but the coconut works very well) to cover the bottom and about 1/2 inch up a deep frying pan. Turn on high heat and wait until the oil has little sizzles before frying the tortillas one at a time. When frying turn on medium heat and press down in the middle of the tortilla with a large rubber spoon/ladle or spatula. Flip after 30-40 seconds (the time will shorten after the first few) when the edges start to turn a deeper color and curl up. Do the same on the other until all the way fried- each one should take around 1- 1 1/2 minutes. Lay on a paper towel to absorb oil and crisp up. You will need to take breaks when the oil gets too hot before starting again. 

To prepare: Spread a tostada with mashed avocado, layer the pulled pork, and top with the salsa & optional cilantro. You can also add more lime if you'd like but it will already be pretty citrusy. 

Now eat up, and don't be afraid to get seconds.  

                                                                                                                             Cecilia A.


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