I'm a girl who never knows when to say "when." This means I make questionable life decisions, such as over-salting movie theater popcorn because I actually like the feeling of a sodium-split lip. I'm also greedy, which only exacerbates the problem. There's a place in Boston that sells old-fashioned doughnuts out of a rickety house, and, on Saturdays, baked beans, too. I stood in line, spotted the last two Chinese takeout containers they're packed in, and promptly ordered them both. Why? Because they were they would soon be extinct (or so it seemed to me).
As a kid, I hoarded Barbies, Crayolas, and the surprises that came at the bottom of the cereal box. Even then, I had a lust for overdoing things, especially in the food department. I would sit in front of the TV with an extra-large bag of Ruffles, eating until my stomach hurt and my lips were swollen, raw, and shiny with grease and salt.
Imagine my glee at discovering tortas in Mexico City. There was a tiny torta shop close to my dad's office: no fuss, no frills, awful flickering neon lighting, but, the surroundings were of no concern, because there, hanging over the counter, was the menu. There were ingredients galore: milanesas (breaded cutlets), cheese, avocados, onions, chiles, condiments, deli meats, herbs, refried beans.
My little heart beat as wildly as it did when Barbie got her Dream House. With an elevator. I'd picked up a spiffy chilanga accent at school, and would confidently rattle off what I wanted my telera (a crusty roll) stuffed with. Leaving with an overstuffed, open-wide! sandwich was par for the course.
This breakfast version is filled with my memories of the D.F., as well as refried beans, avocados, cotija cheese, chopped white onions, Cholula-spiked mayonnaise, cilantro, chicharrones, and fried eggs. Add or subtract ingredients as you wish; I'm not one to judge
- 4 sturdy rolls
- 1 (16-ounce) can refried beans
- 1/4 cup mayonnaise
- 1 to 2 tablespoons hot sauce such as Cholula or Valentina
- 1 cup chicharrones, coarsely crushed
- 1/2 cup (2 ounces) cotija cheese, crumbled
- 1 avocado, sliced
- 1/2 small yellow onion, finely chopped
- 1/2 cup cilantro or culantro, chopped
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 4 large eggs
- Salt and pepper
- Pickled jalapeños and lime wedges to taste
Adjust oven rack to middle position and preheat oven to 350°F. Arrange rolls on baking sheet and place in oven and bake until heated through, about 7 minutes.
Meanwhile, heat beans in microwave or small skillet until completely heated through, about 2 minutes. Set aside. In small bowl, combine mayonnaise and hot sauce. Set aside.
With clean dish rag or oven mitts, transfer warm bread to cutting board. With serrated knife, split each roll in half. Spread inside of 4 bottom pieces of each roll with 1/4 of beans. Layer beans with chicharrones, cotija, avocado, onion, and cilantro, distributing each topping evenly among 4 rolls. Spread inside of 4 top pieces with mayonnaise mixture.
Melt butter in large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Crack eggs into pan, season with salt and pepper, and cook until whites begin to set and turn opaque. Cover pan and cook until yolks and whites are cooked to preferred doneness, 2 to 4 minutes.
Place 1 egg on top of each roll, then close top of sandwich. Serve with pickled jalapeños and lime wedges.
baking sheet, microwave or small skillet, serrated knife, large nonstick skillet with lid