Tortas Pambazos

IngredientsPork, Vegetables
Day PartLunch
Menu PartSandwich/Wrap
Cuisine TypeMexican
Tortas Pambazos
Chef Gonzalo Guzman
San Francisco
Two types of salsa, pickled vegetables, avocados and chorizo create multiple layers of flavor in this Mexican-inspired sandwich. Chef Guzman suggests using telera rolls for an authentic torta, but soft French rolls can easily stand in without compromising the sandwich. 


3 cups shaved green cabbage
1 cup thinly sliced white onion
1 cup crema (recipe follows)
12 soft Mexican teleras or French rolls, approx. 6-in. diameter
3 cups 3/4-in.-diced Yukon Gold potatoes
3 cups (approx. 1 1/2 lbs.) crumbled Mexican chorizo
3 avocados, peeled and seeded
1 cup crumbled queso fresco

Crema (yield: 1 cup)
1 cup Greek yogurt
1 tbsp. fresh lime juice
1/2 tsp. kosher salt, plus more to taste

Guajillo salsa (yield: 1 cup)
2 dried mulato chilies, stemmed, seeded
2 dried guajillo chilies, stemmed, seeded
2 garlic cloves
1/2 cup diced white onion
3/4 cup canned diced tomatoes
1/2 tsp. dried oregano
1/2 tsp. ground cumin
Salt, to taste

Pickled vegetables (yield: 2 cups)
3/4 cup carrots, peeled, cut in half lengthwise and sliced into half-rounds
3/4 cup jalapenos, stemmed, halved lengthwise and sliced into half-rounds
3/4 cup small cauliflower florets
1/4 cup thinly sliced white onion
2 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
1/2 cup white vinegar
1/2 cup water
2 1/4 tsp. sugar
1 bay leaf
1 garlic clove
1/4 tsp. dried marjoram
1/4 tsp. dried thyme
1/4 tsp. ground allspice

Salsa escabeche (yield: 1 1/2 cups)
1 1/2 cups mixed pickled vegetables
1/2 cup diced canned tomatoes
Salt, to taste


  1. Prepare crema: Stir all ingredients in a bowl to combine. If mixture seems too thick, add a little water. Season to taste with salt.
  2. Prepare guajillo salsa: Bring a pot of water to a boil. Place chilies in a large bowl. Pour boiling water over chilies and let sit for 20 minutes until chilies are softened.
  3. Remove softened chilies from liquid and transfer to a blender. Add remaining ingredients and a pinch of salt and puree until very smooth. Add some of chili soaking liquid if necessary to blend. Season to taste with salt.
  4. Pickled vegetables: Place carrots, jalapenos, cauliflower and onion in a large bowl. Stir in salt and let rest for 30 minutes.
  5. In a medium pot, combine vinegar, water, sugar, bay leaf, garlic, marjoram, thyme and allspice. Bring to a boil.
  6. Transfer vegetables to a mason jar or comparable container with a lid. Pour boiling vinegar mixture over vegetables and cover jar with plastic wrap. Let cool slightly, then cover with a secure lid and refrigerate for at least 8 hours.
  7. Prepare salsa escabeche: Place all ingredients in a food processor and blend to form a chunky salsa. Add salt to taste.
  8. To assemble: Place shaved cabbage and sliced white onion in a large bowl. Add crema and toss to coat. Season with salt if needed. Place in refrigerator until needed.
  9. Bring a medium pot of water to a boil. Add 1 tablespoon of salt and diced potatoes. Cook until al dente, 6-8 minutes. Remove from heat, drain potatoes and set aside.
  10. Heat a tablespoon of oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add crumbled chorizo and cook, stirring occasionally, until hot and cooked through, about 10 minutes. Stir in potatoes and cook another 2 minutes to heat everything through. Remove from heat, set aside.
  11. Meanwhile, slice each roll in half, but not all way through. Dip outsides of each roll in guajillo salsa, making sure to wet outsides completely. Heat a tablespoon of oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add as many closed rolls as will fit, working in batches as needed to sear outsides. Smash rolls down against surface of pan as you cook, until rolls are seared and crispy on both sides, about 5 minutes total. Repeat with remaining rolls, adding more oil to pan as needed.
  12. Spread 2 tablespoons of salsa escabeche onto bottom half of each roll. Add about 1/2 cup of potato-chorizo mixture, spreading to cover roll evenly. Thinly slice avocados, using 1/4 of an avocado per sandwich, placed over potato-chorizo mixture. Top each with about 1/4 cup of cabbage slaw and sprinkle each with about a tablespoon of crumbled queso fresco. Serve hot.

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