One of favorite sandwiches to eat is a torta. While ‘torta’ means different things in different languages the torta I am referring to is the Mexican sandwich. If you are not familiar with it, let me tell you about it.
While this sandwich is traditional in Mexico, that is really the only consistency on what a torta is. Well, it is served on bread and has a layer of refried beans, almost as a condiment.
The range of toppings is seemingly endless. Almost any style of Mexican meat can be put onto a torta. My favorite is Chicken Milanesa. Also, there different styles depending on the region: Norteña, Suiza, or Jalisco to name a few. Some, like the Gema, are smothered in sauce. Tortas can be served cold but are traditionally served warm and are usually pressed, like a Cubano.
I have eaten tortas in many different cities and states and still the only absolute is that it is served on bread with refried beans on it. Some places, like Las Tortas in Denver, do it better than others.
I have only tried a few times to make a torta myself. My first attempt was not very good. I had purchased some Mexican style bolilo bread to use. Of course I used refried beans and other toppings that I layered on the bread. I used my sandwich press, but it was not close to any of the tortas I have eaten.
My second attempt was better. I had a different style of bread, more like a bun. Again I used the standard refried beans. However, I made a butter and chipotle sauce baste and seared that onto the inside of the buns before adding the beans and an avocado mayonnaise. Then I layered on some shredded lettuce, shredded cheese, jalapeño, tomato, and red onion. I made one for The Hubs with carnitas. He said it was a good try.
The most recent torta sandwich attempt has been my best to date. I made Milanesa de Pollo, my favorite. It is a very thin chicken breast cutlet, breaded and fried. I used yet a different type of bun for my bread. The buttery sauce that I toasted on previously was excellent so I did that again. Then the mayonnaise, refried beans, and layered toppings. This was steps above the first 2 attempts.
While my homemade torta game is still not where I would like it to be it’s getting better. All I can do is continue to eat these delicious sandwiches when I find them out, and try to replicate them at home. Just like getting to Carnegie Hall I think the key to a great torta sandwich is practice.
What food do you love to eat out that you just can’t quite perfect at home? I guess some foods are just better when someone else makes them!
- 4 Bolillo rolls or other crusty bun or roll
- Butter (melted)
- Chipotle Sauce
- Refried Beans
- Cheddar Cheese (shredded (or thin sliced Monterey Jack))
- Lettuce (shredded)
- tomato (sliced)
- Avocado (sliced or mashed)
- Onion (diced, white or red)
- Pickled jalapeno slices
- Slice the bread in half, lengthwise. Brush inside with melted butter and Chipotle sauce, if desired. If buttered, toast on a hot griddle, grill pan, or panini press.
- Spread refried beans on inside of both buns, the mayonnaise.
- Place choice of meat and other toppings on bun and place top bun.
- Press the sandwich.
Styles of meat to use: Adobada, Al Pastor, Asada, Barbacoa, Carnitas, Chorizo, Chuleta Ahumada, Jamon (ham) Milanesa de Res (steak), Milanesa de Pollo (chicken), Salchichas (hot dogs), Huevos (eggs) Additional toppings may include melted cheese, mayonnaise, avocado, tomato, onion, chipotle sauce, and jalapeño.