Chef's Recipes

Cuttlefish tostada

Australian Gourmet Traveller recipe for cuttlefish tostada by El Publico restaurant in Perth.

By Sam Ward
  • Serves 6
  • 45 mins preparation
  • 45 mins cooking plus cooling
Cuttlefish tostada
Cuttlefish tostada

"This tostada recipe is inspired by one of the most famous restaurants in Baja California," says Sam Ward, "a roadside cart called La Guerrerense, which is rumoured to have the best tostadas in the world."


  • For deep-frying: vegetable oil
  • 6 15cm-diameter corn tortillas
  • 4 cuttlefish fillets (200gm each uncleaned; 60gm each cleaned), cleaned, cut into thin 6cm-long strips
  • 2 tbsp white masa harina (see note)
  • To serve: coriander leaves and thinly sliced radish
  • Juice of 1 lime, or to taste
Corn vinaigrette
  • 90 ml canola oil
  • 1 large corn cob (about 400gm), kernels removed
  • 1 golden shallot, finely diced
  • 4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1 jalapeño, finely diced
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp each dried oregano and dried or fresh epazote (see note)
  • 25 gm caster sugar
  • 50 ml white malt vinegar (see note)
Tomato salsa
  • 100 ml canola oil
  • 3 large vine-ripened tomatoes (180gm each), quartered, seeds removed
  • 2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 1 fresh bay leaf
Pickled jalapeños
  • 100 ml white malt vinegar (see note)
  • 35 gm caster sugar
  • 2 jalapeños, thinly sliced into rounds


  • 1
    For corn vinaigrette, heat 2 tbsp oil in a small saucepan over low heat, add corn, shallot, garlic and jalapeño and stir occasionally until tender but not coloured (5 minutes). Add cumin, oregano and epazote, cook for 1 minute, then add sugar and cook until sugar starts to caramelise (3-4 minutes). Add vinegar and bring to the boil. Remove from heat, add remaining oil, season to taste and cool.
  • 2
    For tomato salsa, heat oil, tomato, garlic and bay leaf in a small saucepan over low heat and stir occasionally until tomato is very tender (20 minutes). Set aside to cool slightly, drain excess oil (discard bay leaf and tomato skins), then mash the tomato mixture with a fork and set aside.
  • 3
    For pickled jalapeños, place vinegar, sugar and 50ml water in a small saucepan over medium-high heat and bring to the simmer. Add jalapeños and set aside to cool in liquid (20 minutes).
  • 4
    Heat oil in a deep-fryer to 180C. Deep-fry tortillas in batches until crisp and golden (3 minutes; be careful, hot oil will spit). Drain on absorbent paper and keep warm.
  • 5
    Toss cuttlefish in masa harina, dust off excess and deep-fry in batches until just cooked and golden (1 minute). Drain on absorbent paper, place in a bowl and add coriander, radish, drained pickled jalapeños, half the corn vinaigrette and lime juice to taste and toss to combine. If salad is too dry, add more vinaigrette.
  • 6
    To serve, divide tostadas among plates, top with a dollop of tomato salsa, scatter with cuttlefish salad and drizzle with remaining corn vinaigrette.


Note Epazote is available from Fireworks Foods and Monterey Mexican Foods. White malt vinegar is available from select delicatessens; if it isn't available, substitute half apple cider and half malt vinegar. White masa harina (also known as masa flour or harina de maíz) is a white nixtamalised corn flour; it's available from Monterey Mexican Foods and Fireworks Foods.
Drink Suggestion: 2012 Mac Forbes RS14 Riesling, Strathbogie Ranges, Vic. Drink suggestion by Paul Aron