Sunday, August 29, 2010

Torta Loco!

My work schedule has been very busy of late. All I have been eating is pasta dishes and sandwiches. So on my first day off in some time, I made another sandwich. But this is more tasty and more involved than a PB&J sandwich on the road.

When I am busy working, I don't think about food much. I get home late and don't have time to cook or I am just plain tired. But when I see a day off coming up, I immediately start planning menus and lists. I have had a good Mexican-inspired torta on my mind for days. Lets do it!

Torta in spanish means sandwich. Tortas can be made of anything you want but the usual suspects are meat, beans, tomato, avocado.

Pork Chop Torta

This torta features a seared boneless center-cut pork chop, sliced or pounded thin, about 1/4 inch seasoned with salt and cumin and pan-seared for a few minutes a side.

Thinly-sliced onions, avocados, homegrown tomatoes, salsa, pinto beans, and pepperjack cheese are piled high on top of the pork and sandwiched between a toasted baguette.

This torta was exactly what I was thinking about all week. It is simple to prepare while all the flavors mix beautifully well together. The avocados, salsa, and melted cheese provide a creamy texture backed by the crunchy crisp of the toasted baguette. And of course, the pork makes it worthwhile with the smoky flavor from the cumin.

Achiote Pork Torta

This torta features an achiote-marinated pork shoulders blades. The achiote marinade consists of achiote paste pureed with garlic, white vinegar, freshly-squeezed orange juice, lime juice, cumin, salt, and cilantro. I left the blades to marinade overnight.

The guts of the torta consist of lettuce, thin-sliced onion, homegrown tomatoes, roasted red bell pepper, pepperjack cheese, guacamole, fresh salsa, and a telera bun.

I hollowed out the inside of the roll and arranged the ingredients in this order: pepperjack - pork - lettuce - tomatoes - guacamole - onions - peppers - salsa.

This torta was much better than the pork chop torta. The achiote really gave the pork a smoky and spicy touch. The lettuce added a nice crunch and the salsa, guacamole, melted cheese, and roasted peppers provided that awesome mexican flavor that I love. The telera roll was also a better option for bread. The insides were toasted under the broiler while the outside of the roll retained its pillowy and doughy texture.

The achiote pork torta was easy to prepare. Most of the work comes with prepping the ingredients, cutting veggies and making salsa/guacamole. The only cooking requirement is pan-searing the pork shoulder blades. But man, it is so good! Get the best, most fresh ingredients and make this torta.

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