Dinner Tonight: Spicy Tortas de Milanesa
I'm an admitted fan of the Mexican torta, a sandwich all about the balance of spicy chiles, meaty fillings, and cooling toppings. Of the many great fillings that can be used, one of my favorites is definitely the Milanesa, or a thin pork cutlet that is breaded and fried. And when I mean thin, I mean very thin. It should be 1/4-inch thick and golden brown, and yet it should still remain tender and juicy. It's hard to get right, but this version from Marcela Valladolid manages to really get the pork right, while also adding some intriguing toppings.
As good as the pork is, most of the actual flavor comes from two kinds of chiles. Chipotles and pickled jalapeños both make an appearance, and they aren't used sparingly. I love spice, but even I worried that my mouth would just end up on fire after one bite. Instead, the two provide the dish with its sturdy backbone. The chipotles are mixed with mayonnaise for a creamy spread that has a rounded smoky depth to it. The jalapeños are just sliced and placed on top, but they give each bite a sharp and acidic kick. The result is torta that is certainly spicy, but has enough flavor to keep things interesting.