The Best Reason to Bake, Not Fry: Flavor

AS A NEW college student homesick for his mother’s cooking, Fermín Nuñez stepped up to the stove. “I didn’t want to eat frozen food,” he said. He started simply, with rice, beans and tacos. After a few semesters, he dropped out and dedicated himself to cooking professionally.

Now, at Suerte in Austin, Texas, Mr. Nuñez is refining the basics he began with. In this tostada recipe, he calls for baking tortillas to a crisp and smearing them in a white-bean-and-leek purée laced with white wine. He tops that with spicy chorizo…

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