In essence, a torta is just a sandwich. But, when you look at what a torta consists of, you’ll notice that it consists of many wonderful ingredients and toppings that you won’t find in any other sandwich, making it a distinct and delicious part of Mexico’s culinary culture!
Mexico has a rich and varied culinary culture that goes back thousands of years. Throughout Mexico’s history, dishes such as enchiladas, tortas, and tacos have become staples of their culinary culture, while also becoming well-known internationally.
While everyone is familiar with tacos and enchiladas, fewer people are aware of the torta. On the surface, a torta is just a sandwich, albeit one from Mexico. But, when you look beyond the surface, a torta is a sandwich that couldn’t come from anywhere else, due to its unique blend of Mexican ingredients and flavors.
So, What Is A Mexican Torta?
A torta is a Mexican sandwich. But, torta’s are unlike most sandwiches, because they use a plethora of ingredients that are often not associated with sandwiches – beans, for example – and embrace the tastes and flavors of traditional Mexican cuisine.
Most people have, at one point in their life and no matter where they are from, eaten a taco. Tacos are very popular Mexican dishes that are known for their small size and rich taste. Tortas are less popular than tacos, but they both share some of the same key traits.
Within the standard torta, you’ll find beans, lettuce, meat, avocado, tomatoes, as well as various other toppings. You can find most of these same toppings in a taco or even a burrito. But, these toppings and ingredients aren’t contained within a tortilla, but in a torta bun.
The torta bun rather than a tortilla completely changes the entire dish. The bread adds flavor and texture to the dish, while also allowing for more toppings to be used. Since there is more space for toppings, you have a bit more freedom when it comes to the toppings that you use, and the number of toppings that you are using.
- Torta’s are similar to tacos, because they use many of the same ingredients and emphasize some of the same flavors
- Torta’s use a bun instead of a tortilla, and the bread changes the texture and overall taste of the dish
- Most tortas are large, which allows for more toppings and variety
What Is The History Of The Torta?
Much of the torta’s history is unclear. Many believe that the torta, as we know it today, was a product of the French Intervention, which was when Mexico began making their own bread. As time passed, Mexican bakers and chefs began making unique dishes with traditional Mexican bread, leading to the torta as we now know it.
No one really knows where the torta came from, or how it became a part of Mexico’s culinary culture. But, many speculate that it arose out of the French Intervention, during the 1860s.
As the story goes, Mexican bakers were inspired by the baguette, a staple of French baking, and chose to make their own bread. One of these breads was the “telera”, which is the kind of bread that is most commonly used in traditional tortas. Bolillo, another Mexican bread that is commonly used for tortas, was also a product of the French Intervention.
In Puebla, the torta was, supposedly, first introduced. It was a simple sandwich that resembled the kinds of sandwiches that the French ate, but used telera rather than baguettes. As telera and bolillo spread across the country, they gained popularity in Mexico City. It was there, in Mexico City, that chefs and bakers chose to place traditional Mexican ingredients within two slices of telera/bolillo, and that lead to the creation of the torta.
- No one really knows the exact history of the torta
- Many speculate that it arose out from French influence
- Mexican bakers were inspired by the baguette, and created the bolillo and telera
- These breads became popular throughout Mexico, and this lead to the torta
- In Mexico City, chefs and bakers began using traditional Mexican ingredients, which lead to the torta as we know it today
What Ingredients Do Torta’s Usually Consist Of?
Torta’s often use a plethora of different ingredients and toppings. Each ingredient adds a particular flavor to the torta, which then leads to a distinct taste. When making a torta, you can use any ingredients that you’d like, but there are a couple of ingredients that most torta’s use. Part of why tortas are so popular is the fact that they allow for so many different toppings to be used.
Traditionally, tortas are made with telera or bolillo. But, some tortas are made with baguettes or sub-sandwich bread.
On the interior side of each side of the bun, a little bit of butter is smeared across the surface. This adds a little flavor to the bread, while also making it easier for the toppings to stay sturdy.
The next step is for beans to be spread across the bun. Many people use refried beans for their tortas because they are easier to chew and add a nice, thick texture to the torta. When the beans have been placed, salsa, guacamole, and sour cream are often added. These toppings aid in creating a rich and intricate set of flavors.
Vegetables such as lettuce, tomatoes, and onions, are often added to the toppings. Vegetables help bring out the rich flavors of the other toppings, while also ensuring that there is some nutritional value in the torta.
To finish off the torta, a variety of different meats are added. Traditional tortas use such a wide variety of meats from pierna (leg) to jamon (ham) to pavo (turkey) or even chicharron. Some add eggs, some add cut up salchicha, and some are loaded so high with filling it’s hard to fit in your mouth.
The final ingredient added to the torta is typically a spice. In Mexico City, the last question you are normally asked when ordering a torta is ‘rajas o chipotle?’ These are different types of peppers added to the torta to make it spicy and even more delicious.
- Tortas can consist of many different ingredients and toppings
- Most tortas are made with rolls, others use sub-sandwich bread
- Butter is often smeared on each side of the bun
- Refried beans are added to the sandwich, which is unique to tortas
- Salsa, guacamole, sour cream, and veggies such as; tomatoes, lettuce, and onions are typically added
- There is a variety of meat used in a torta
- Typically tortas include some spicy peppers