PRAWN TOSTADAS WITH AVOCADO & SPICY PEANUT OIL Taken from Chilli Notes by Thomasina Myers, Hodder & Stoughton, £25

Masterchef winner and all-round foodie favourite Thomasina Myers has just opened the latest branch of her restaurant chain, Wahaca, on Queens Road. Designed to shake up the Mexican dining scene around the UK, Wahaca is set to replace tequila girls with tasty street food, and messy fajitas with moreish tacos, tostadas and taquitos – to name just a few. And she’s agreed to share some of her delicious recipes with TBM readers, so you can try them out at home… These tostadas are inspired by Sabina Bandera’s incredible sea urchin tostadas that I tasted at a food festival in Oaxaca. Bandera’s street food stand, La Guerrense, in Ensenada is spoken of in hushed tones by Mexican food enthusiasts – it is famous throughout the Americas – and when I tasted these, I understood why. The combination of toasted peanuts, hot peanut oil, creamy avocado and seafood is inspired. – Thomasina Myers

Serves 4–6 people

INGREDIENTS

• 250ml olive oil or vegetable oil, for frying

• 8 large corn tortillas

• 40g peanuts

• 1 large onion, peeled and finely sliced

• Juice of 1 (juicy) lime

• 1 avocado

• 2–3 tbsp hot and fiery peanut oil (recipe below)

• 150g (MSC certified) raw prawns

• 2–3 tbsp mayonnaise

• 2 baby gem, cut into fine ribbons

• Hot sauce, for splashing (optional – see Tip)

METHOD

Heat 250ml of oil in a small saucepan until it is shimmering hot. Meanwhile, cut out small circles from the tortillas, keeping the off-cuts to fry for salads or snacks, and test one in the hot oil. If the oil bubbles up vigorously, then it is up to temperature. If the oil doesn’t move very much, wait for the temperature to rise further. Fry the tortillas in batches so that you are not bringing the temperature of the oil down too much, until crisp and golden. Drain the tostadas on kitchen paper.

Reserve the oil. Heat a frying pan over a medium heat and toast the peanuts for about 5 mins until pale golden all over.

Remove them and roughly chop. Add a few tablespoons of the frying oil to the pan, followed by the onion and a good pinch of salt, and cook over a medium heat for about 10 mins until the onion is soft and sweet-tasting. All of this prep can be done a couple of hours in advance.

Remove and set aside. When you are ready to eat, peel, de-stone and cut the avocado into quarters, then squeeze over the juice of half the lime. Heat the frying pan again and when it is smoking hot add a few splashes of the peanut oil followed by the prawns.

Toss the prawns in the oil for a few minutes until they have turned from translucent to pink. Add the onions, most of the rest of the oil and the nuts and briefly stir to heat through. You do not want to overcook the prawns.

Squeeze the rest of the lime juice over the prawns. Serve the tostadas with a smear of mayonnaise, the shredded lettuce, prawns and onion and top with the peanuts, avocado slices and more peanut oil drizzled over, scooping some of the delicious sediment from the bottom of the bottle over the prawns.

THOMASINA’S TIP
 Sabina serves these with a roast habanero sauce. Try the Wahaca one or scatter over a tiny pinch of de-seeded and finely chopped habanero chillies. This oil transforms even the simplest plate of food. It is great drizzled over grilled prawns or chicken, or keep a bottle of it on the table for ladling over anything from tacos and tostadas to salads and stir-fries.

HOT & SPICY PEANUT OIL INGREDIENTS

peanuts • 6 fat garlic cloves, skinned • 25g sesame seeds • 600ml sunflower oil • 90g peanuts (skins on) • 25g chiles de árbol (or other dried red chillies) • 2 tsp sea salt • 2 good pinches of caster sugar

METHOD
 Heat a deep, wide-bottomed pan over a medium heat and toast the sesame seeds for 4–5 mins until pale golden all over. Set aside. Heat 200ml of the oil in the same pan over a medium heat. Add the peanuts and toast them until they turn a light caramel colour. Add the garlic to the pan and cook until it has turned soft and golden, then add the chillies. Cook until the chillies darken and smell toasted. Add the salt, sugar and sesame seeds and pour in the remaining oil to stop the chillies cooking further. With a slotted spoon, transfer the chillies and half of the nuts and seeds to an upright food blender and blitz to a coarse crumb. Now add the rest of the oil and nuts and leave to cool. Store in a clean, sterilised bottle or jar.

Wahaca is now open, and is happy to accommodate walk-ins if you fancy dropping in. If you would like to reserve a table, or just find out a little more about the restaurant, either tel: 0117 332 4486 or visit: www.wahaca.co.uk. Wahaca, 70–78 Queens Road, BS8 1QU.