Mexican Food Made Simple

Torta (Mexican club sandwich)

This sandwich is not for the faint-hearted, but it is exceedingly good.


Mention the word ‘torta’ to any chilango (someone who comes from Mexico City) and you will see a faraway look come over them as they are transported back to the torta stands that line the streets of the capital. This sandwich is not for the faint-hearted, but it is exceedingly good.

Makes 2
Preparation time: 20 minutes


1 large, ripe tomato or tomato salsa
sea salt and black pepper
½ red chilli, finely chopped
a drizzle of olive oil
150g cooking chorizo
2 ciabatta buns
½ tablespoon lard or olive oil (optional)
4 large tablespoons refried beans
½ avocado, mashed with the juice of ½ lime
¼ red onion, sliced very thinly
½ -1 baby gem lettuces
2 very generous tablespoons Chipotle mayonnaise or ordinary mayonnaise

Frijoles refritos (refried beans)

Serves 2
Cooking time: 30 minutes


300g cooked black beans , with the cooking liquid reserved
at least 25g lard, butter or olive oil
½ onion, finely chopped
sea salt and black pepper
a knob of butter


  1. Whiz cooked beans with blender, adding just enough of the reserved cooking liquid to get a smooth, fairly thick puree.
  2. Heat the fat in a heavy-bottomed pan. When foaming, add the onion. Season well and sweat the onion until soft. Add the garlic, chilli (and spice or herbs if you like), and cook for a further few minutes. Onion, garlic, chilli all ready to add to the pan.
  3. Add the puréed beans to the onion mixture and cook for another 10 minutes, turning down the heat after a few minutes to very low and stirring constantly.
  4. Add a little more of the cooking liquid so that you get a nice smooth purée that falls easily from a wooden spoon. Taste and season again. At this stage, you can cool the beans and reheat them when you are ready to eat (cover them with a circle of greaseproof paper or old butter papers to stop the beans forming a skin).
  5. Slice the tomatoes, and dress them in salt and pepper, the chilli and a drizzle of olive oil.
  6. Slice the chorizo up into bitesize pieces that can easily be grilled, unless you are cooking them outside on the barbecue, in which case grill the sausages first and then slice them so you don’t lose precious pieces in the fire.
  7. Heat a griddle or frying pan until smoking hot, add the chorizo, and cook for a few minutes a side until it is looking good and crispy.
  8. Remove to a plate and cut the buns in half. Brush both sides of the buns with the chorizo fat and a little extra oil if you think they need it.
  9. Toast on the grill pan on both sides.
  10. Smear one half of the buns with refried beans, and top with the avocado, red onion, chorizo and lettuce.
  11. Smear the other half in the mayonnaise, and press down firmly. Eat at once, preferably doused with healthy amounts of the blow-your-head-off habanero salsa or the fiery roast tomato salsa.

Recipes from Mexican Food Made Simple by Thomasina Miers © Thomasina Miers 2010, published by Hodder & Stoughton

Photographer Claire Wilks © Blink Films 2011