I take a lot of pride in making the perfect sandwich. I enjoy making them and I’m good at it. Call me a stereotypical woman (I’m also a terrible driver…) but I don’t care. I recently made a really, really, damn good sandwich. We’ll go ahead and call it a torta. It sounds fancier. Also, it leaned heavily on Mexican influences. This torta was the love child of a spontaneous weekend. It began with an impromptu trip to Huntington Beach for this snowboard gear product launch party. I dabble in snowboarding and partying, so this was a nice combo. Anyways, after this I found myself in downtown LA at…gasp…USC. I know I’m supposed to reject all things Trojan in the name of the ancient, deeply rooted UCLA-USC rivalry, but really, I have no problem with, and really quite enjoy, fraternizing with the supposed enemy. And I’m also incredibly envious of the abundance of delicious, cheap, magical taquerias and panederias oh so conveniently located around USC’s campus. Westwood is great, but it contains a massive void that can only be filled by Mexican food. After spending an interesting night at SC, I stopped by a Mexican bakery for some breakfast before rolling home. Do you ever experience that feeling of having no idea what you want, getting something, and realizing it was exactly what you wanted? No? Well it happens to me frequently. I walked into this bakery and was instantly overwhelmed by the plethora of delicious choices. Do I want a pastry? Or a taco? I decided on something obscure and unidentified. On the outside, it was a beautiful, glossy, golden pastry crust. It appeared to have a filling. The lady at the counter heated it up for me, and I excitedly bit into it, realizing that I had discovered what I can only describe as a Hot Pocket on crack. It was wonderful. Ham, jalapenos, cream cheese, and possibly other things oozed out of the delicate pastry, and I was in heaven. I finished it way too quickly and wished I could rewind and eat it again. Before leaving, I bought a couple of bread rolls to snack on later. These were the beginnings of my torta. I contemplated all day long, trying to decide exactly how to approach my perfect sandwich. I knew it had to be chicken, since that’s what was in my kitchen at the time. I also had a craving for something pickled, so I knew that would be involved. I found a can of chipotle chillies in adobo sauce, and it all came together in my head instantly, like a brilliant flash of delicious lighting. So here you go, my recipe for…
The Perfect Torta.
1 big delicious soft bread roll
1 chicken breast
salt & pepper
chili powder, pico de gallo powder, or whatever spicy seasonings you have
1/2 red onion
1-2 cups red wine vinegar
3 tbsp. sugar
salt & pepper
1 small can chipotle chillies in adobo
1/3 C. mayonnaise
2 tsp. minced garlic
1 tbsp. white wine vinegar
salt & pepper
First, tackle the chicken. Heat a splash of olive oil in a frying pan on medium heat. Sprinkle the chicken breast with salt, pepper, pico de gallo, and garlic powder. Cook through, then set aside. Meanwhile, start your pickling process. Heat 1-2 cups of red wine vinegar (I don’t remember exactly how much I used, I just poured some in the pot) and the sugar, as well as a couple teaspoons of salt and pepper in a small sauce pot. You want there to be enough vinegar to be able to cover your veggies that you’re about to prepare. Bring to a boil and let that do it’s thing while you chop your veggies. Slice your onion into thin strips and slice the radishes into dime-width slices. Peel, halve, de-seed, and slice your cucumber. Put all of this into the boiling vinegar and boil for about five minutes, stirring occasionally. Drain the veggies and let cool. They should be tangy and still crisp. Now make your chipotle aioli. Chop up a chipotle or two, or more depending on your spice-tolerance. If my mouth isn’t on fire, it’s not hot enough. Add these, and some of the adobo sauce, to the mayo. Add garlic, vinegar, and salt and pepper. All of this can be tailored to your taste and texture preferences. Last, everyone likes toasty buns, so brush a little olive oil on the inside of your roll and brown it in a pan on the stove. Nice and toasty. Now assemble. Give your bun a nice slathering of that chipotle aioli. Plop on a handful of your pickled veggies. Add your chicken. You can keep the breast whole, slice it, or shred it, which is what I did. Feel free to add some fresh tomato slices or maybe a handful of arugula. Now tear up a small handful of that fresh cilantro, sprinkle it inside, and top with the other half of your bun. Take a bite, and adios amigos.
And the song of the day is…
Unrelated to anything specifically, but I associate it with this weekend. And it’s great.
Sorry I don’t have pictures. I’m awful at remembering to do that. Stay tuned for some visuals later.