Writing a food blog might give the impression that I am in the kitchen all the time... I wish I was, I do spend there every free minute I can squeeze out of my day; cooking relaxes me, it gives me joy and above all it makes me happy, but lately, I haven't been in the kitchen as much as I'd like to; we've been so busy getting a new home office built, trying to get rid of builders, cleaning up, etc, and all this while holding full-time jobs and running a business. All our meals for the past six months have been pretty much cooked in a hurry and eaten on the go or in a rush. The joy of cooking was some how diminished by the need to cook and eat quickly.
I hadn't noticed any of this until we stopped and relaxed for two weeks while on holidays in wonderful West Cork, where we had all the time in the world to look at food, hunt for food, drive to food places and above all EAT good food. So now that I'm back, I'm determined to find recipes that I can cook quickly, healthy fast food if you want to put it that way. A lot of Mexican food is like that: healthy and fast, so my next posts will be reflecting that. Hope you don't mind. The first in the series is Tortas.
Tortas are the ultimate Mexican sandwich; they're fast, nutritious and delicious! The bread for tortas is extremely important, we use round rolls called 'margaritas' or 'Teleras' and we also use flat, crusty rolls called 'bolillos'. I am very lucky to have access to the excellent sourdough breads made by Arun Bakery and sold at the Honest2Goodness market where My Mexican Shop has a stall on Saturdays. My choice of bread for Tortas is the famous Vlaa's, a round, airy and extremely light roll that resembles Mexican Margarita breads (nothing to do with the cocktail by the way).
I love Arun Bakery breads, and for this torta I used their Tomato & Jalapeno Vlaaz, which turned out to be perfect for this quick lunch. There are zillions of different fillings you can put on Tortas, but this one is a classic at my mam's table as I was growing up: torta de aguacate y jamon, which is an avocado & ham torta. Hope you enjoy it! Note: don't use sliced bread, it's not the same, if you can't get your hands on some Vlaa's, use babs, a good quality crusty roll or a ciabatta bread.
Slice the bread in half and toast both halves lightly. You want them warm and crispy without being burnt. If your bread of choice is too thick for the toaster, use a dry, non-stick pan to toast it! It does pay off to toast the bread, the torta will taste so much better if you do!
Spread half a tablespoon of mayonnaise on each bread's half. Then, set the top half of the bread aside and start assembling your torta.
Take the bottom half of your bread and generously spread about 1/4 of the avocado on it. Take two slices of ham and arrange them on top of the avocado. Follow by placing a couple of slices of tomato and onion on top of the ham. Top these with a couple of lettuce leaves and crown it all with a few slices of pickled jalapeño (if you're using them). The jalapeños are totally optional, but they do add a lovely bit of flavour to the final dish.
Season with salt and finishing your torta by placing the top half of the bread on top and enjoy it!
This is an absolute winner on both flavour and speed. Very quick and refreshing dish!