This sandwich is inspired by the torta at Mike & Patty's in Boston. I can honestly say it was one of the best things I’ve ever eaten. It had pulled chicken, avocado, refried beans, jicama slaw, and goat cheese, all on a chewy torta roll. I ate it perched on a ledge at a nearby park, and realized far too late that I had far too few napkins. I made a huge mess eating this thing, and I didn’t even care. Hands can always be washed, jeans can be scrubbed. But no morsel of this torta could go undevoured. All of the flavors worked in such harmony together, I wanted to cry at their beauty. Okay, I sound insane. I’ll stop now.
This torta is my ode to an adaption of that memorable sandwich. Instead of pulled chicken, I used pistachios to crust a thin piece of chicken breast, and then baked it until golden brown and crunchy. Combined with black beans, pickled jalapeños, lettuce, tomato, and a creamy avocado sauce, this is a full, flavor-packed meal between two pieces of bread. —foxeslovelemons
Test Kitchen Notes
Just as foxesloveslemons says, this is one messy sandwich -- but that should by no means deter you from making one immediately. The flavors and textures all melded together nicely, with the pistachio bits adding a welcome crunch to the softness of the beans and avocado sauce. —The Editors
For the chicken
large boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut in half lengthwise and pounded to 1/2-inch thickness
shelled pistachios, pulsed in a food processor until finely chopped
Nonstick cooking spray
For the avocado sauce and tortas
ripe avocado, peeled, pitted and mashed
Juice of 1 lime
hoagie or torta buns
15-ounce can black beans, liquid included, roughly mashed
To prepare the chicken: Preheat oven to 425º F. In small bowl, stir together cumin, salt, paprika, cayenne, and cinnamon. Sprinkle both sides of the chicken pieces with the spice mixture. Place flour in shallow dish. In a second shallow dish, lightly whisk the eggs. In a third shallow dish, combine breadcrumbs and chopped pistachios.
Spray a rimmed baking pan with cooking spray. Working with one piece at a time, dip the chicken into the flour, shaking off any excess, then into the egg and breadcrumb mixtures. Place on a prepared baking pan. Bake for 15 minutes, turning once, or until the pieces are lightly browned and their internal temperature reaches 165º F.
Meanwhile, prepare the avocado sauce: In a small bowl, stir together the avocado, lime juice, and sour cream.
To make the tortas: Spread one side of each bun with mashed black beans. Over the beans, place the chicken, jalapeños, tomatoes, lettuce, and avocado sauce. Place hoagie bun tops over the tortas.