I grew up eating breaded steak, or bistec empanizado which just means breaded steak, on a regular basis. My mom would make it for dinner pretty regularly. She’d also make this same cut of meat without breading it and would cook it in a tomato sauce with lots of fresh tomatoes and sliced onions. I liked that one too, but let’s be honest, I’d pick fried breaded steak over anything anytime. I’d be crazy not to. Anyhow, with either dish she would make and serve it with some out of this world white rice, that even now I can’t replicate to save my life, along with freshly boiled black beans. She’d also serve the whole thing with fried green plantains (the starchy kind) and the sweet ones as well, which are just plantains that have ripened. I never liked the sweet ones like my sisters do, so she’d make us both. One of my favorite things she would do (and still does whenever I beg her for it) is take her amazingly delicious fluffy white rice that no one else can make quite like hers and mix it with the black beans that took hours to boil on the stove top. She’s against having them soak the night before so she just boils them on the stove with lots of water, garlic, and bay leaves. It’s amazing. I don’t always have time to cook dry beans so I’m forced to go with canned. Don’t judge me. I’m sure someone out there is slowly shaking their head. It’s not that bad.
As I was saying though, this white rice and black bean mixture is my entire childhood wrapped in one incredibly easy dish. A lot of Central American countries (even Cuba) have this dish, although everyone calls it something else. My grandparents were from Nicaragua and there they call it gallo pinto. I think in Costa Rica it’s called the same thing. Don’t ask me to translate it because I have no clue what it means or what it refers to. All I know is that it’s delicious and addicting and can be eaten with anything. Next time you have some black beans and white rice leftover, mix the two together. This long rant about my childhood meals was to state that I could get down with breaded steak any day of the week. Especially when bread, cotija cheese and avocado are involved. That’s where this sandwich comes into the picture. Breaded Steak Tortas should be your new go-to sandwich. Torta just means sandwich, although it could also refer to a sweet cake of some sort. Isn’t it funny how one word can refer to different things? I find that funny for some reason. Anyhow, this isn’t cake though, this is a sandwich, and it’s the only way you should be eating your sandwiches, from now on. Don’t deprive yourself, your family or your friends of this glorious meal. You’d be cruel not to make it.