This an iconic antojito (street food) is native to Oaxaca where they’re called Clayudas. The area is famous for its oversized corn tortillas called blandas and the use of the stringy queso Oaxaca that is almost identical to the Italian mozzarella used on today’s pizzas and flatbreads. Tlayudas can be found all over the south of Mexico City.
The toasted tortillas that serve as the base for this dish are a called “tostadas” throughout Mexico and Latin America. A tostada is a tortilla that has been fried or toasted until crispy and used as a base in a multitude of dishes. The name itself is a Spanish word for “toasted”. Tostada dishes were often formed as a way to use day-old tortillas that weren’t soft enough to fold but still fresh enough to be eaten as toast.
What’s unique to the tostadas used for tlayudas from Oaxaca is their massive size, traditionally around 16-inches (40 centimeters), the size of a big dinner plate or pizza pie. Another interesting detail when comparing Mexican tlayudas to Italian pizza, tlayudas use refried beans to cover the cooked base while pizza uses tomato sauce. It’s interesting to consider that it was the Spanish that first introduced the Mexican tomato to Europe, where it eventually became tomato sauce in Italy. Conversely, queso Oaxaca was a recreation of Italian Mozzarella which was made possible by the Spaniard’s introduction of dairy to Mexico.
Tlayudas Oaxacan – Mexican Pizza
- Rimmed baking sheet
- Large skillet
- 16 oz Canned black beans
- 2 Large corn tortillas ( 6 small or 3 flour tortillas)
- 6 Slices smoked bacon, cut crosswise into ¼-inch slices
- 1 cup Chopped lettuce
- 2 Roma tomatoes
- 1 tsp Chile powder
- 1 Avocado, peeled and sliced
- 1 cup Mozzarella or other stringy cheese
- Tomato salsa, fresh preferred
- Cook Tortilla – Heat bacon slowly in skillet over medium-low heat. When crisp but not burned, remove to paper towels with a slotted spoon. Drain rendered fat to a glass measuring cup or small bowl. Turn heat to medium and fry each tortillas in 1 tsp rendered bacon fat, around 1½ minutes per side. Remove to a baking sheet. Finish the rest of the tortilla the same way.
- Cook – Preheat oven to 450°F. Spread each fried tortilla with beans and bake for 5 minutes. Remove and sprinkle the chopped avocados, lettuce, tomato and cheese equally over the tlayudas. Bake another 3-5 minutes until toppings are warmed and the edges are beginning to crisp. Remove, top with bacon, and serve sliced with salsa on the side.
- Different cooked meats and vegetables may also be used for toppings.