A toasted cheese tortilla snack popular in southern Arizona

I first discovered this recipe in 1978 when I went to Tucson to visit my prospective in-laws. Such visits are often tense; Loretta's parents knew that I liked Mexican food, so they took me to their favorite restaurant, Casa Molina. The appetizer, a toasted cheese tostada, was so good that I forgot my nervousness and just chowed down on serving after serving. I think that her parents remembered from that visit more about my appetite than my personality.

I tried several times to make Tucson tostadas, but they always ended up tasting like pizza. Then a recipe appeared in the April 1986 issue of Sunset magazine, and after reading it, I was able to reconstruct this replica of the Tostada Casa Molina. The secret is to use Mexican cheeses.


(Serves 6)


  1. Preheat oven to
  2. If you are using fresh poblanos, roast them and remove their skins and seeds, If you are using canned poblanos, wash and drain them. Slice the peppers into thin decorative slices.
  3. In a big frypan, fry a tortilla in lard or oil until it is golden brown. Remove to paper towels, drain well, then place on a baking sheet or pizza pan. Although lard is bad for you, the grim truth is that tortillas taste very much better when they have been fried in lard. Live dangerously.
  4. When the tortilla has cooled and hardened, cover it with a thin layer of Oaxaca cheese, then with the jack cheese. Crumble anejo on top of those layers, then sprinkle finely-chopped coriander on top of that.
  5. Arrange the pepper slices in a geometric pattern on top of the cheeses. Bake for 5 minutes, or until the cheese has melted but not browned. Remove from the oven, and use a pizza cutter to slice into individual portions. Serve immediately.


Oaxaca (pronounced "oh-HOCK-a") cheese is a Mexican string cheese. You can substitute any Mexican cheese marked "asadero" (melting cheese). If you're desperate, you can use Armenian mozzarella, which has the right texture but the wrong flavor.

Monterey jack is a bland American cheddar; you can substitute good-quality Muenster.

Anejo cheese is somewhat like Parmesan, dry and crumbly. You can substitute Mexican cotija cheese, but that is probably pointless, because a store that carries cotija will probably also carry anejo. Fresh-ground parmesan will do in a pinch, though it is not the right flavor. In one of my many attempts to get this recipe right, I tried a mixture of Greek feta and cow's-milk romano cheese. It tasted very interesting, though not at all authentic.


Difficulty: easy once you have found the ingredients.
Time: 10 minutes each.
Precision: no need to measure.


Brian Reid 
DEC Western Research Laboratory, Palo Alto, Calif., USA 
reid@decwrl.DEC.COM {ihnp4,ucbvax,decvax,sun,pyramid}!decwrl!reid 
Recipe last modified: 16 Jun 86

Original header

Path: decwrl!recipes
From: reid@decwrl.ARPA (Brian Reid)
Newsgroups: mod.recipes
Subject: RECIPE: Tucson tostadas (a melted-cheese appetizer)
Message-ID: <6776@decwrl.DEC.COM>
Date: 5 Dec 86 04:38:01 GMT
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