Tortas de Milanesa

Torta de Milanesa, shown open-faced

Tortas – Mexican sandwiches – are one of my favorite foods by which I commonly measure Mexican restaurants. The humble torta seems spretty simple, consisting of various taco and salad ingredients on a nice roll, but it’s definitely a skill to do it right.

I’m preparing for a “Last Meal“-themed party in a couple weeks, so I thought I’d try making tortas myself as a potential candidate for the party. The one I made here is the common “Torta de Milanesa,” basically a Mexican breaded steak sandwich.

Ingredients for Tortas de Milanesa

Ingredients:

  • thinly cut round or other steak, i.e., 1/4″-1/3″ thick
  • refriend beans (I used some made with chorizo)
  • flour
  • egg (beaten, as a wash to adhere the flour)
  • onion
  • tomato
  • lettuce
  • ripe avocado
  • rolls, e.g., club rolls or baguette
  • oil, e.g., canola
  • hot sauce, e.g., Valentina Salsa Picante

An unusual choice I made was to use masa flour, the sort used to make corn tortillas, rather than all-purpose flour and/or bread crumbs; this was so that the steak cutlets would be acceptable to my gluten-free friends. (Of course, the roll would be eliminated for them too.)

Flattened, tenderized round steak, ready for dipping in egg and dredging in spiced flour

Trim the steak and pound the steak pieces to tenderize and flatten to about 1/4″ thick. Dip them in egg wash, and then in flour that is spiced generously with salt and pepper.

Breaded steak frying in canola oil

Pan fry the breaded cutlets in oil, a couple minutes per side until cooked through.

Pan-fried, masa flour-breaded, round steak

To assemble the sandwich, slice the roll, e.g. a club roll, and consider removing some of the bready inside (to make room for ingredients, while making the sandwich still able to be easily managed in hand). Then smear the roll with refriend beans, add the breaded steak, sliced raw onion, sliced tomato, chopped lettuce, avocado slices, and hot sauce.

Torta de Milanesa

Here are some torta recipes that I consulted:

To be honest, this first attempt of mine was tasty, but no where near the best torta I’ve had. I have some adjustments to make to perfect it. The masa flour worked fine, but I would spice it even more generously. The meat really needs to be tenderized thoroughly, otherwise chopped for the sandwich so that it’s easy to bite through. The roll is a particularly difficult part… while it may be true that a crusty bread or roll is common, it makes it extremely messy to eat because the beans and avocado are squeezed out of the sandwich as you bite. The restaurant I most often visit uses a large, round soft roll, that doesn’t result in this problem.

There are a lot of common torta variations such as vegetarian (avocado), pulled chicken, and chopped steak.

Enjoy this favorite of mine sometime at a restaurant or at home!

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Chorizo Buffalo Chicken Sandwich

Chorizo Buffalo Chicken Sandwich

If ever you find yourself having to choose a last meal, and it must be a sandwich, you’d be doing yourself a final favor to request this Chorizo Buffalo Chicken Sandwich.

This is a sort of tribute to Katja’s Kitchen, as it is a variation of Katja’s Oven-Baked Buffalo Chicken Sandwich.

I used her recipe pretty much as-is.  However, I started by browning about 2.5 ounces of mexican chorizo in a pan.  I cooked the chorizo slightly less than I would if eating it immediately; after all, it’s going to bake in the oven with the chicken.

Sliced chicken breast and pan-frying chorizo

I sliced a relatively small chicken breast lengthwise, but not all the way through, so I could fold it open to a nice thickness for a sandwich.  (Hmmm, this may be twice as much chicken per sandwich as Katja’s recipe.)

Next, I pressed most of the fat from the chorizo and mixed it with .5 ounces of lightly crushed Special-K breakfast cereal, then coated the chicken breast as she described in her recipe. Be sure to press the coating to the chicken so that it is still adhered when it finally makes its way to your sandwich.

Dredge the chicken breast in flour, coat with egg, and chorizo/cereal mixture.

I similarly baked it in a 350° F oven for 30 minutes.

I served the chicken on lightly toasted sliced cheese bread, from our Farmer’s Market, topped it with hot sauce (Valentina brand Salsa Picante, which is much hotter than Frank’s Red Hot, thus I used it sparingly), ranch dressing, thinly-sliced celery, and a bit of crumbled queso fresco – not that the sandwich needed it, it’s just that I made the fresh cheese yesterday, so “Why not?” It’s my last meal of the, umm, afternoon. :-)

Chorizo Buffalo Chicken Sandwich

Here are the recipes that inspired this sandwich:

Thanks for this and the other recipes, Katja!

Chorizo & Chips Huevos Rancheros

Chorizo & Chips Huevos Rancheros

I’m not a “breakfast is the most important meal of the day” kinda guy. I don’t often eat breakfast, owing to the fact that I start the day later than most of you. :)
But, if I’m not going to have lunch, a big breakfast is in order.

Here’s one of my huevos rancheros variations.
(Triple-Decker Huevos Rancheros is my pièce de résistance.)

This morning, to serve just myself, I fried 3 sliced multi-colored small potatoes in canola oil, seasoned with salt & pepper and minced garlic at the end, so as not to burn the garlic.
Making potato chips in a pan is a bit tedious, but a texture somewhat crisp is achievable; use a big pan on medium to medium-high heat, and arrange the potato slices so that they don’t overlap much, and flip them periodically. A very thin, metal spatula works well.

A mild, mexican (uncooked) chorizo.

Meanwhile, I fried 3-4 oz. mild mexican chorizo, crumbling it as it browned. While both the chips and chorizo drained on paper towel to soak excess oil, I scrambled 2 eggs in the chorizo pan, and stirred in a bit of sour cream and chives when the eggs were done.  Adding a cream or sauce to scrambled egg, just when done, lowers its temperature immediately to help prevent overcooking.

I served it topped with hot sauce and chopped chive.
How is it?  It’s hard to beat potatoes, eggs, and sausage for breakfast… or lunch. :)

Huevos Rancheros with Mild Chorizo & Garlic Potato Chips

P.S. If breakfast were a country, this would be its flag:

Flag of the Republic of Breakfast