Tortas are the quintessential Mexican street food, big-hearted sandwiches packed with any number of savoury fillings and bursting with flavour. There are torterías, sandwich shops, on virtually every street corner where the torteras make up the tortas to order with the content of the customer’s choice. There are countless varieties on offer and the menus are so long that it is difficult to make a decision. If you go for something hot, the torta will be wrapped in foil to keep it warm until you are ready to eat, and the juices and aromas will have the opportunity to seep into the bread, making it moist and even more satisfying.
The traditional bread for a torta is a telera, a large, flattish roll, about the size of an adult’s hand, quite dense, with two slashes across the top and a beautifully crunchy crust – and most importantly, big enough to fill generously. If teleras are not available, a large French baguette style loaf works well and can be cut into good-sized portions once it has been stuffed.
Huevos con chorizo, eggs with chorizo, are a popular breakfast dish, gutsy and spicy, and the torta version, where they are crammed into a crisp bread roll, makes a wonderful meal all on its own; it is not light however so if you have a busy afternoon ahead of you, it might not be the best option! This torta is at its best when freshly made, hot and aromatic, but if you want to take it on a picnic for instance, wrap it in a double thickness of foil – it will still be warm two or three hours later.
Egg and Chorizo Sandwich – Torta de Huevos con Chorizo
15 ml/1 tbsp olive oil
175 g/6 oz onions, peeled and coarsely chopped
25 g/1 oz red or green chillies, as hot or mild as you wish, deseeded and finely sliced
250 g/9 oz cooking chorizo, skinned
5 ml/1 tsp chipotle chilli powder or paste or to taste
200 g/7 oz tomatoes, coarsely chopped
6 eggs, beaten
2 teleras or 1 large wide baguette, about 44 cm/17 in long
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
Heat the oil in a non-stick frying pan. Add the onions and chillies, and cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the onion is golden. Crumble in the chorizo and continue to cook, mashing it with the back of a wooden spoon, until it has rendered its fat and starts to brown. Stir in the chipotle and tomatoes, turn the heat up and let it all bubble until most of the moisture has evaporated. The chorizo can be prepared up to this point several hours in advance and reheated.
Season the eggs and add them to the chorizo. Cook very gently, stirring all the time, until the eggs are just set but still soft. Check the seasoning.
Split the rolls or baguette and butter generously. Spoon the filling onto the bottom half and cover with the top half, pressing down very gently.
Eat without delay.
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