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Dinner Tonight: Chipotle Shrimp and Cheese Torta

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[Photograph: Nick Kindelsperger]

After putting together a list of great seafood sandwiches in Chicago, I wanted to see if I could make a great torta using a filling from the sea. Sounds straightforward, right? Thing is, texture is absolutely crucial in torta construction, and fish has a tendency to turn to mush, especially when sandwiched between two slices of bread with a sauce drizzled on top. The way around this is to fry the fillets first, but with summer blazing outside, I didn't have the stomach to heat up a pot of oil.

Fortunately, all I had to do was focus on a different kind of sea creature. Shrimp maintain their juicy integrity even under an avalanche of toppings—no batter required. Plus I could cook them in a chipotle and tomato mixture, so the salsa was built right in.

This flavorful filling doesn't need much to top it, so I kept things simple. Lettuce is a standard torta addition, but I went with the more assertive bitter punch of arugula. Some may dislike the addition of ooey Oaxacan cheese (if so, you can easily leave it out) but I like how it brings all the components together.

About the author: Nick Kindelsperger is the editor of Serious Eats: Chicago. He loves tacos and spicy food. You can follow him as @nickdk on Twitter.

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