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greensNbeans

Tortas?

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Looking for the "make-up" of the sandwich?  Traditional to un-conventional?

Hello,

Ingredients can be quite varied. Cooked shredded pork. Sliced ham. Grilled chicken. Fresh cheese (panela). Guacamole is pretty common. The only essential (for me anyway) is that the bread roll be smeared with refried beans. In fact, I like them with nothing more than refried beans and cheese.

A great variation is called "ahogada". This is a torta smothered in a rich and spicy chile de arbol sauce and then sprinkled with one of the drier cheeses.

Anyone else?

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Here's a Torta de Pollo from La Batalla in Bergenfield, New Jersey

5dm-tosta.jpg

Here's a "Torta Cubana" I had recently at Mi Pueblo in Bergenfield, New Jersey

gallery_2_4_26604.jpg


Edited by Jason Perlow (log)

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Those pictures say it all don't they? Traditionally the type of bread used is the "telera" not the "bollio". It is the same dough but pressed flatter with a dowel to crimp the middle. The bread is toasted a la plancha, on the griddle. One side is spread with refried beans, the other with avocado. Mayonnaise is very common. Additionally, as noted above, shredded lettuce, tomato, chile jalapeno and onion. Milanesa (milanese syle thin breaded pork) is most typical. I like to make tortahamburguesas, that is, a burger done in the traditional torta style. If you order this at a taqueria though, they'll also put a slice of ham and melt some white cheese on it, Mexico style.

One day, one of the fast food chains will start marketting a "tortaburger", I'm sure and it will have as much to do with an authentic torta as Taco Bell "gorditas" have to do with authentic gorditas or Jack in the Box 'ciabatta' has to do with, well, you know what I mean.

I think I'll run out and copyright the "tortaburger" name right now! :smile:


Edited by Jay Francis (log)

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A most delicious torta that I had in Mexico Citty some years ago was Torta Albañil. Beef, onions, bell peppers in a tasty sauce. It was made with a telera and the beef was more tender than most of the places that I had eaten at.

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In the Yucatan, I think the most common torta is grilled chicken, with lots of avocado and _tons_ of mayonnaise. I swear, the US and Mexico did a condiment swap a while back--there's definitely more mayo than salsa consumed in the Yucatan. (Not that I'm complaining! I love the stuff.) Sometimes tomato, hardly ever beans. And the bread is the bolillo, with some of the soft part removed. And it's pretty much never toasted. Sounds dull compared to some of the others described, but it's really delicious.

I find the tortas I get here in my nabe in NYC are ginormous compared to the Yucatecan ones. Don't know if that's regional (guys here are from Puebla), or the everything's-bigger-in-America effect. The tacos are overstuffed too.

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I've always had them with teleras instead of bolillos also and did find that the bean paste was the other essential ingredient. I've often had them with turkey and avocado, but the bread is always toasted or else the sandwich is grilled. I haven't had the more elaborate ones, but I can be sure I would like the cochinita pibil. When I was in Yucatan last (which was decades ago), I found pita bread to be more common than teleras, but that may have been because of my choice of restaurants.

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<-cut->Wikipedia has a good list of basic torta types:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Torta

The Wikipedia article says:

it consists of a bread sandwich of "bolillo", a salty bread that's only made in Guadalajara due to the altitude and climate.
:hmmm:

I say, "¡Puras papas! You can find bolillos all over Mexico.

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The SF Chronicle has an article on tortas this week. tortas

A great tortamaker uses not only a dizzying array of condiments but offers special meat fillings. He might have pickled tongue, milanesa or breaded meat, spiced chicken instead of the usual boiled, or, instead of carnitas, chilorio -- carnitas simmered with an ancho chile and garlic sauce. Another great filling is thin slices of grilled flank steak seasoned with garlic and chipotle.

The torta vendors in Mexico use the elongated rolls called bolillos, or semitas. Good versions of these are hard to find in the United States, but it works well to substitute crusty Italian or sourdough rolls.

The article describes two different meat fillings. For posterities sake, here are some of the details.

Marinated grilled flank steak (Marinade = lime juice, adobo sauce from canned chipotle chiles, garlic, salt and pepper)

Looking forward to your photo, nickarte!

The procedure will be the same for posting a photo whether the msg is a "post" or "reply". As mentioned, there are detailed instructions in the tech support area.

Chiloirio filling

(Basically start cooking cut up pork shoulder as you would for carnitas.

While the meat is simmering, soften cleanred and dried ancho chile pieces in very hot water for ~ half and hour. In a blender, puree softened anchos, garlic, chipotle chile, cumin, oregano, salt, vinegar and some water to a smooth puree. Blend this with the finished carnitas and cook a bit more.

Some ideas for other 'fixings' on the torta:

refried black beans

bolillos, or crusty French or Italian rolls, or 3-inch sourdough dinner rolls, split, with some of the center pulled out

sliced red oinion rinsed in cold water or marinated in cider vinegar, sugar, salt and a little balsamic vinegar)

thinly sliced queso fresco or Monterey Jack cheese

shredded romaine

ripe avocados, mashed with salt and lemon juice

sliced pickled jalapenos

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The best tortas, I think, are at Tortitlán (two branches, one Ancha de San Antonio, the other accross from the San Francisco Church) in San Miguel de Allende! And I live in Mexico City....this is the only food, in fact, that I would rave about in San Miguel!

Why are they the best? They just are! I can't put it into words...who do you think I am; Proust?

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Looking for the "make-up" of the sandwich?  Traditional to un-conventional?

Hello,

Ingredients can be quite varied. Cooked shredded pork. Sliced ham. Grilled chicken. Fresh cheese (panela). Guacamole is pretty common. The only essential (for me anyway) is that the bread roll be smeared with refried beans. In fact, I like them with nothing more than refried beans and cheese.

A great variation is called "ahogada". This is a torta smothered in a rich and spicy chile de arbol sauce and then sprinkled with one of the drier cheeses.

Anyone else?

Several of us here, including Jay Francis above, have been on the lookout for the torta ahogada with limited success - only 2 finds. The one I’ve sampled was dunked in a very mild chili sauce but the thing that’s really missing is the special roll, a birote, a sturdier version of a bolillo, made to stand up to the dunking. We doubt there’s any local panaderia making this bread.

Another local place does another version of a drunken torta called the Pambazo Potato with Chorizo, Lettuce, Sour Cream & Cheese Dipped in a Guajillo Sauce. I haven’t tried it yet but their other tortas are excellent.

Lengua and Barbacoa seem to be offered almost universally locally.

I just encountered another one this weekend, the Torta de la Barda, a specialty of Tampico and Ciudad Madera in southern Tamaulipas.

This site has a better picture than what I got of mine, plus discussion.

Here’s another discussion.

I wonder what other regional/local specialties there are.


Edited by brucesw (log)

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In the Northern Mexican State of Coahuila I have often seen tortas called "lonches" perhaps a play on the English word lunch. Always make on pan frances.

My other favorate play on words in Mexico is Yonky or Yonki - it means junkyard and hopefully has nothing to do with food.

Please pardon the digression.

Jmahl

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Cemitas from Puebla (photo will follow), Pan de cazon from the Yucatan, and Pambazos - potatoes & chorizo fill, quesillo, bathed in salsa de chile guajillo, and griddled ... oh, yum!

Theabroma

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This site has a better picture than what I got of mine, plus discussion.

Did you happen to check out the original site in Spanish that you posted above. It's very cool. Thanks for the link!

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This site has a better picture than what I got of mine, plus discussion.

Did you happen to check out the original site in Spanish that you posted above. It's very cool. Thanks for the link!

Glanced at it but my Spanish is not that good so didn't linger.

The Pambazo -

gallery_58650_5736_6111.jpg

There needed to be a warning on the menu that this fell under the category of foot long sandwiches - it was huge. Chorizo, potatos, lettuce, refritos, red and green cabbage, etc., dunked or drizzled with a guajillo sauce and accompanied by a cup of frijoles negros. Lots of American style sour cream under there - I wondered how crema would have tasted as I don't like sour cream very much.

Comments welcome as this is the first one of these I've tried. I like the other tortas I 've had at this deli more than this.

So is the pambazo a regional specialty or pretty universal?

The restaurant

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This site has a better picture than what I got of mine, plus discussion.

Did you happen to check out the original site in Spanish that you posted above. It's very cool. Thanks for the link!

Glanced at it but my Spanish is not that good so didn't linger.

The Pambazo -

So is the pambazo a regional specialty or pretty universal?

The restaurant

Reasonably universal - it's just so spicy-crispy-crunchy-tastefully-greasy ... and so good for the pelt! A really good pambazo, made with great bread, real chorizo, and unstintingly pomaded with guajillo salsa then crisped to a fare-thee-well is a things of awesome beauty. I will, however, be the first to admit that if it is not a prime example of the art, it is not such a great choice.

And for those who do not love sour cream ... try creme fraiche ... lighter, and should be a bit sweeter which makes a nice counterpoint to the assertive chorizo.

Oh, yum!

Regards,

Theabroma

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Torta Huerfana = Orphan Torta? at Taqueria DF 100% Chilanga, Houston

gallery_58650_5736_18215.jpg

The waitress on the day I tried this didn't speak much English and there are no descriptions on the menu but as best I can figure it out this included jamon, milanesa, chorizo, huevos, refritos, yellow and white cheese (per another waitress on another day who described it to me - I think they were American and Jack), avocado and tomato on a nicely toasted, crusty telera, with a couple of very good salsas on the side.

A sign on the wall invites customers to try their 'nueva creacion, Torta Huerfana en Taqueria DF.' I haven't been able to find anything online so I don't know if this is a local creation or has Mexico City roots.

It was very good; plenty for 2 for $9. I liked this much better than the Pambazo.

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Several of you mentioned mayo on your torta, but don't think anybody went into more detail.

I've found that mayo with lime is the most popular version. You can find it in any Mexican grocery store and if you live in an area with a large Mexican population, most of the regular grocery stores carry it, too.

If not, though, you can always order it online from folks like MexGrocers:

mayonnaise with lime

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