Good luck food: Heirloom bean and bacon tostada

Want to bring some luck into your day on this notoriously unlucky day? Mary Sue Milliken and Susan Feniger are here to help. Try the "two hot tamales"' recipes for a heirloom bean and bacon tostada with a cilantro aioli and a watercress, cucumber and orange salad.

Heirloom bean and bacon tostada

Makes 6 servings


  • Heirloom Bean Salad

    • 1 1/2 cups dried heirloom beans, a couple different varieties
    • 3 to 4 bay leaves
    • 1 small onion, cut into thick slices
    • 2 cups trimmed green beans and yellow wax beans, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
    • 4 ounces slab bacon or 4 thick slices bacon, cut into 1/16-inch batonettes
    • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
    • 3 tablespoons sherry vinegar
    • 1/2 tablespoon honey
    • 1/2 tablespoon Dijon mustard
    • 1 to 2 canned chipotle chiles, stemmed, seeded, and minced
    • Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
    • 3 to 4 jalapeño chiles (red and green), stemmed, seeded, and finely diced
    • 3 green onions, trimmed and thinly sliced
    • 6 6-inch corn tortillas, fried until crispy
    • 1 1/2 cups shredded, for serving
    • 1 ripe California avocado, halved, seeded, peeled, and sliced, for serving
    • 6 pieces crispy Serrano ham* (optional), for serving
  • Cilantro aioli

    • 1 bunch cilantro
    • 1 lime, juiced
    • Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
    • 1/2 cup mayonnaise


Baking Directions:

Beans, like most round foods symbolize money and prosperity. Pig is lucky in many cultures and also symbolizes wealth and abundance. Tostadas are fried tortillas which if dropped will bring you lots of company! But don't hand hot chiles (jalapenos and chipotles) or knives to a friend; instead place them on a table for them to pick up to avoid giving them bad luck.Cooking each variety in a different pot, cover beans with water. Add bay leaves and onion slices, diving evenly between pots. Bring to a boil, and then reduce heat, simmering gently, covered, for 45 to 75 minutes or until beans are cooked through and creamy inside. Remove from heat, cool to room temperature, remove bay leaves and onion, and drain thoroughly. Meanwhile, fill a saucepan with water and bring to a boil with a very large pinch of salt. Cook green and yellow beans until just tender, 3 to 4 minutes. Drain and scatter on a platter lined with paper towels. Cut into 1/2 lengths and set aside. When all beans are ready, fry bacon in a skillet until crisp then drain on paper towels. Transfer a spoonful of bacon fat to a large mixing bowl and add olive oil, vinegar, honey, mustard, chipotle chiles, salt, and pepper. Whisk to form a vinaigrette. Add all cooked beans, jalapeño chiles, green onions, and crispy bacon and gently toss to evenly coat. Taste and adjust seasonings with salt, pepper, and vinegar as needed. For the Aioli: To a food processor, add cilantro, lime juice, salt, and pepper. Pulse until cilantro is very finely chopped and a paste begins to form. Add mayonnaise and combine thoroughly.

Serving Directions:

To Serve: Squirt or spread a little cilantro aioli on each crispy tostada and top with frisee lettuce. Mound bean salad mixture on top and garnish with avocado slices and a crispy Serrano ham slice if desired. Serve immediately.


Cook thinly sliced pieces of Serrano ham between 2 cookie sheets in a 300 degree F oven for about 10 minutes, or until crispy.

Watercress, cucumber and orange salad

Serves 4


  • Watercress, cucumbers and orange salad

    • 4 bunches watercress stems trimmed, leaves washed and well dried
    • 1 medium cucumber, peeled and julienned
    • 2 oranges
    • 1/2 cup Coriander Vinaigrette (see recipe below), to taste
    • Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • Coriander vinaigrette

    • 1/4 cup coriander seeds
    • 1/2 cup white wine vinegar
    • 2 shallots, roughly chopped
    • 1/2 bunch cilantro, roughly chopped
    • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt, to taste
    • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, to taste
    • 1 cup extra virgin olive oil


Baking Directions:

Simple salad with lots of color and a delicious coriander dressing. Oranges are round which is symbolic for coins. And it is always good luck to eat greens which also represent money.Add watercress and cucumber to a large salad bowl. Slice ends off oranges and stand upright on a counter. Cut away peel and membrane, exposing fruit. Working over a bowl to catch the juices, separate the orange sections by slicing with a knife between membranes. Remove and discard seeds. Add orange segments and juices to bowl with watercress and cucumber.Add vinaigrette and salt and pepper to taste and toss gently. Divide mixture evenly between chilled salad plates and serve immediately. Coriander vinaigrette: Toast coriander seeds in dry sauté pan for about 1 minute, until aromas are released. Blend the toasted coriander seeds, vinegar, shallots, cilantro, salt, and pepper in a blender.  With the motor still running, slowly incorporate the olive oil until mixed.  Taste and adjust seasoning as necessary.


Mizuna, arugula, or any peppery-flavored salad green can be substituted.