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Author Notes: You will find tortas available all over in Mexico, and much of Texas. They are typically some sort of protein - beef, pork, shrimp - with lettuce, tomato, avocado, cheese, crema, or a combination of those things, served on a toasted or griddled bolillo (a small soft football shaped roll). There is a taco stand just outside our neighborhood with an inelegant location (the parking lot of an Exxon station) an awesome name (Taco Bella) and fantastic tacos, gorditas and tortas. The owner adds a stroke of torta brilliance by adding a slather of refried beans to the mix, a trick which I immediately incorporated into mine. I keep a jar of the DIY Crème Fraîche in my fridge as a matter of habit so that's what I use (https://food52.com/blog/3781-making-creme-fraiche-at-home), but sour cream or Mexican crema are both perfectly fine. The owner of Taco Bella makes her own refried beans but for ease and speed I use canned refried pinto beans. Refried black beans work just as well. And finally, feel free to throw a few pickled jalapenos on the sandwich if you are so inclined. —aargersi
- 3/4 pound thinly cut milanesa (round steak) or other lean beef
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon salt (plus 1 pinch)
- 2 limes
- 1 haas avocado
- 1/2 (about) cups refried beans
- 1/2 (about) cups crème fraîche, sour cream or crema
- 1 (about) cups chopped iceburg lettuce
- tomato slices for each sandwich (number depends on sice of your tomatoes)
- 1 cup shredded jack cheese or slices for each sandwich
- 4 bolillos or other smallish soft rolls
- oil for the pan
- pickled jalapenos (optional)
- Thinly slice your beef into strips - you don't want to be gnawing off big hunks as you eat your sandwich. Toss it with cumin, juice from 1 lime, 1/2 tsp salt, and set aside. Roughly mash the avocado with juice from 1/2 the other lime and a pinch of salt. Set aside. Warm your beans. Chop the lettuce and slice the tomato.
- Heat a large skillet and add oil to coat. When the skillet is hot, add in the beef and cook until it is just cooked through, just a few minutes. Remove the meat to a plate and if there is a lot of residual liquid drain that off. Add a bit more oil to the pan and toast the buns cut side down until that side is crispy and golden.
- Assemble the sandwiches. Slather each bottom roll with 2-3 tablespoons of beans. Give each top bun a similar schmear of mashed avocado. Top the beans with cheese, then beef, then the cream of choice. Next add lettuce and tomato, and jalapenos if you want. Press the top bun down onto the sandwich (I like mine a little bit smashed), cut (or not) and serve!
- This recipe was entered in the contest for Your Best Sandwich Recipe