Queso Fundido Torta
With the projected date of January 16th for the opening of our newest restaurant "Tortas Frontera" in the United Terminal at O'Hare, this is an adaptation of one of the tortas that will be on the menu. Shredding your own cheeses instead of buying one that pre-shredded is well worth the effort. The pre-packaged cheeses have stabilizers in them that prevent them from melting completely. It's served with a roasted tomatillo salsa on the side.
Makes 4 tortas
1 large (about 4 ounces) poblano
1 pound fresh Mexican chorizo sausage. casing removed
1 medium( 6 ounces) white onion, peeled and diced
1/2 teaspoon Mexican oregano
2 cups (1/2 pound) shredded cheese (we like a combination of Monterey Jack and sharp white cheddar)
4 crusty Mexican bolillos
OR 4 cibatta rolls OR 8 thick slices of a multi-grain harvest bread
4 tablespoons (2 ounces, 1/2 stick) unsalted butter, softened, optional
Roasted Tomatillo Salsa
Roast the poblanos directly over a gas flame or 4 inches below a broiler, turning regularly until blistered and blackened all over, about 5 minutes for an open flame, about 10 minutes for the broiler. Cool until handleable, rub off the blackened skin, tear open and pull out the stem and seed pod, then dice the flesh into medium size pieces. Set aside.
In a very large (12-inch) dry skillet set over medium heat, cook the chorizo for 5 minutes, breaking it up into crumbles as it cooks. Add the onion and oregano, continue cooking until the onion has softened, an additional 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in the poblano to rewarm. Divide the chorizo mixture between the bottom half of the 4 rolls. Top each torta with 1/2 cup shredded cheese, and cover with the top half of the bread.
Heat a griddle over medium heat. Once hot, place the tortas on the griddle and cook for about 5 minutes per side or until both sides are golden brown and the cheese is melted. Alternately you can finish the tortas on a panini grill. If you want to be totally decadent, you can spread the softened butter on both the top and bottom of each torta before grilling. Serve the roasted tomatillo salsa on the side.