My love for tortas started out with a mistake. A wonderful, tasty mistake.
At a beloved hole-in-the-wall Mexican restaurant, I quickly perused the menu that lacked descriptions, and hastily ordered a torta (my foggy mid-workday brain translated it as “tostada” that day). Instead of a salad, a sandwich was placed in front of me. Chicken grilled to perfection, creamy guacamole, melted cheese… and ohhhh, the bread. Bolillo or telera rolls are traditionally used for these Mexican sandwiches– crusty on the outside, chewy on the inside (like any good bread), with just enough heft to hold all the stuffins. And, like any good sandwich, the possibilities for a torta are endless.
Grilled Poblano and Chicken Tortas
(Adapted from SF Gate)
Makes 4 sandwiches
4 poblano chile peppers, halved, stemmed and seeded
4 to 6 boneless skinless chicken cutlets ( 1/4- to 1/2-inch thick, about 1 1/2 pounds total)
3 tablespoons olive oil
Kosher salt and ground black pepper, to taste
1 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp cumin
Juice of 2 limes, divided
4 bolillos, telera, or other soft rolls, split lengthwise down the middle
1/2 cup mayonnaise
2 chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, minced
2 ounces queso fresco, crumbled
1 large or two small ripe avocados, pitted and sliced thin
1/4 red onion, sliced very thin
Combine 2 tbsp olive oil, chili powder, cumin, and juice of 1 lime. Add chicken, cover, and refrigerate for at least 1 hour to marinate.
Meanwhile, combine mayonnaise and minced chipotle peppers in a small bowl. Set aside.
Preheat the grill to medium-high.
Place the peppers and the chicken on two separate plates. Rub the peppers with 1 tablespoon of the oil, and season generously with salt and pepper. Season the chicken with salt and pepper as well.
Grill the peppers cut side up for about 10 minutes, then flip and continue to cook on the other side for about 5 minutes more. On another portion, grill the chicken for about 5 minutes on each side until cooked through. Remove from the grill and set aside. Let chicken rest for ten minutes, then cut into 1/2-inch thick slices.
To assemble the sandwiches, spread chipotle mayo on the bottom half of each roll, then sprinkle with queso fresco. Layer the avocado, chicken, poblanos, and red onions on top of the cheese, then squeeze the juice of the remaining lime over the onions. Place the top half of the roll onto the sandwich, serve immediately, and enjoy!