Seared Panela Molletes

April 20, 2023
1 Ratings
Photo by Julia Gartland
  • Prep time 10 minutes
  • Cook time 25 minutes
  • Serves 4
Author Notes

An open-faced sandwich is one of my favorite Mexican breakfasts because it is hearty and filling. This version is meatless, but the meatiness of the refried beans and the seared queso panela add so much flavor, texture, and umami that even the most diehard meat eaters will not miss it. —Rick Martinez

What You'll Need
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Seared Panela Molletes
  • 1/2 cup crema or sour cream
  • 2 chipotles chiles (from canned chipotle chiles in adobo), chopped, plus 1 tablespoon reserved adobo sauce
  • 3 garlic cloves, finely grated, divided
  • Sea salt, to taste
  • 5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 1 small white onion, chopped
  • 2 (15-ounce) cans black beans and their liquid (or 4 cups homemade)
  • 4 bolillo or hoagie rolls, cut lengthwise and toasted
  • 1 pound queso panela, paneer, or panela, cut into ¼-inch-thick slices
  • Pico de gallo, packaged or homemade, for serving
  • 1 small avocado, seeded and thinly sliced, for serving
  • Lime wedges, for serving
  1. Make the creamy adobo: Combine sour cream, chopped chipotles, adobo, and half the garlic together in a small bowl; stir to combine. Season with salt, if desired. Let sit at room temperature until ready to serve, or chill if making ahead.
  2. Heat 3 tablespoons of olive oil in a medium heavy skillet, preferably cast iron, over medium heat. Cook onion and remaining garlic, stirring occasionally, until tender and just beginning to brown, 6 to 8 minutes.
  3. Increase heat to high. Add beans and their liquid (mixture will spit and sputter but will quickly settle down). Cook, stirring occasionally, until about half of the liquid has cooked off, about 5 minutes. Use a potato masher or fork to smash the beans until there are no whole beans remaining and the mixture is thick, smooth, and creamy. Remove from heat, taste and season with salt if necessary. Let cool slightly; the refried beans will thicken as they sit.
  4. Sear the queso panella: Heat remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a medium nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Working in batches, cook panela until seared and deep golden brown on both sides, about 3 minutes per side. Transfer to a plate and repeat with remaining panela.
  5. To assemble, spread about ⅓ cup refried beans on the cut side of each toasted roll. Top with seared panela, pico de gallo, avocado slices, a drizzle of chipotle crema, and a squeeze of lime.

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Rick Martinez

Recipe by: Rick Martinez

Rick Martinez is currently living his dream—cooking, eating and enjoying the Mexican Pacific coast in Mazatlán. He is finishing his first cookbook, Under the Papaya Tree, food from the seven regions of Mexico and loved traveling the country so much, he decided to buy a house on the beach. He is a regular contributor to Bon Appétit, New York Times and hosts live, weekly cooking classes for Food Network Kitchens. Earlier this year, he was nominated for a James Beard Award for “How to win the Cookie Swap” in Bon Appétit’s holiday issue.

1 Review

Darian May 6, 2023
Super messy, but delicious! I used halloumi because that's what I had on hand.