Don’t worry, I’m not calling these tortas

It is so late in the week that I can’t remember why I decided to make non-tortas for lunch this week. I think it was because I found this bread I really like at my supermarket but have run out of things I want to put on it. (One week of turkey is really all I can handle.) So I decided to use them to make totally inauthentic tortas. Or cemitas. I don’t know the difference; I’m very sorry. (You know what’s weird? This is not the first time I’ve looked at that link.)

So I think the main quality of cemitas and tortas is the bread they’re made with, so I completely failed from the start. It occurred to me later that I probably could have done it right—there is an amazing-smelling Mexican bread store literally right next door—but I went the whole-wheat route because I suffer from extreme, constant hunger.

Anyway. These are sandwiches inspired by tortas. I used Goya refried beans, because I was lazy, and mozzarella cheese, because I had a lot left and didn’t think I would be able to get through a whole ball of Oaxaca cheese before it went moldy. (They taste and feel very similar to me—or at least they do when you buy the inauthentic, un-fresh kind you get in supermarkets—so I didn’t worry about it too much. But now I feel like if they are really that similar, I should have just bought Oaxaca cheese and used the leftover for baked ziti. Would that have been weird? I have a feeling I will find out at some point.) I used a quick recipe to make pickled jalapeños rather than Pati Jinich’s recipe, because by the time I realized they would be sitting in the fridge all night anyway it was too late and I had none of the ingredients for Pati’s (probably better) version. Or I didn’t want to scale down a recipe that called for three pounds of jalapeños into one that used no more than six jalapeños.

Pickling. Don’t breathe.

I feel slightly weird giving you the quick-pickled jalapeño recipe because it turns out I didn’t like them. But I am completely sure this is personal preference rather than the recipe’s fault. I didn’t even put them on the sandwich yesterday, but gave it another try today, because I figured the horrible cuts in my mouth just were not painful enough. (It’s like I’m kickboxing the inside of my mouth.) Anyway, I didn’t adapt the recipe at all, except that I cut some of the jalapeños into strips rather than into circles; I thought the heat level would be plenty. In fact, it was still excessive, because I am a wuss. Also, don’t stick your face into a pot of boiling vinegar.

That’s about all I can stretch this post into. Making a sandwich is not very difficult. These are as good or non-good as you make them; I like them, but I am already tiring of the beans-in-sandwich thing, and I definitely could have done a better job overall.

Completely inauthentic non-tortas (or, if they are not tortas, I guess they’re authentic at being something else)
Adapted from Pati Jinich’s tortas

1 roll, whole-wheat if you are me or an authentic Mexican roll if you are better than me
Several tablespoons refried beans, enough to cover one side of bread; more or less depending on what other protein sources you’re using (ham/turkey is optional)
Several slices of mozzarella or Oaxaca cheese
Several slices of tomato (I used cherry tomatoes and arranged them artfully over the sandwich surface)
Several slices of onion—I use red because they are prettier and I have an awkward surplus of them
OH SHIT I FORGOT THE CREMA!!!!! No wonder they are not that good. And I even have crema in my fridge! OK, I am adding crema tomorrow. Sigh. (For days before I started assembling these I had the recipe in plain sight on my computer just so I would not forget to add crema. I am weirdly irritated by this. Probably because I never get to use my crema. But it is more than a year old so maybe I should just be happy that I forgot and am thus still alive?)
Pickled jalapeños (amount depending on how wussy you are feeling, or how many seeds you left in)
1/4ish ripe avocado (or not very ripe, if you were dumb and left your avocado in the fridge instead of on the counter to finish ripening)

Those were some ridiculous recipe notes. OK. Put your beans on your bread. I put approximately the same amount I would have used if this were hummus, if that helps. It probably doesn’t. Add your other ingredients in the order in which they will be the most stable. I’ve been doing halved cherry tomatoes, then onion, then jalapeños, then cheese, to sort of keep everything inside. The avocado should be smushed/spread onto the other bread half; if your avocado is not ripe enough, it probably won’t smush and you’ll just have chunks of semiripe avocado. This is definitely better than no avocado, though.

I think this is probably the worst post I have ever written. Sorry. I don’t even have any Fitzpatrick.

3 thoughts on “Don’t worry, I’m not calling these tortas

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