Simple, yet special, recipes for the home chef.

Pistachio-Crusted Chicken Tortas

Pistachio-Crusted Chicken Tortas - Crispy baked chicken breasts topped with mashed black beans, jalapenos, lettuce, tomato and creamy avocado sauce.

My husband and I like to vacation by choosing a random city and going there for a long weekend or more. We might make very loose plans about what we want to see and do, but for the most part, we just show up and wander around. Boston was our destination a few years ago. Aside from Fenway Park and the Sam Adams factory tour, we wandered the city by foot, bike and train for the better part of a week.

Pistachio-Crusted Chicken Tortas - Crispy baked chicken breasts topped with mashed black beans, jalapenos, lettuce, tomato and creamy avocado sauce.

We learned so much about the city, it’s role in the early history of our country, and it’s beautiful architecture. We ate more than a few cannolis. While I brought home many lifelong memories, I’ll always dream about one thing in particular: the torta sandwich at Mike & Patty’s. This place is a teeny, tiny, corner closet of a restaurant in the Bay Village neighborhood. We came across it during a long morning walk around town. I quickly looked up reviews, and discovered it had 4.5/5 stars on multiple restaurant review sites. We immediately got in line and ordered some sandwiches.

Pistachio-Crusted Chicken Tortas - Crispy baked chicken breasts topped with mashed black beans, jalapenos, lettuce, tomato and creamy avocado sauce.

I couldn’t tell you what Jeff had. It doesn’t event matter. All that mattered was that torta. I can honestly say it was one of the best things I’ve ever eaten. It had pulled chicken, avocado, refried beans, jicama slaw and goat cheese, on a chewy torta roll. We ate our sandwiches perched on a ledge at a nearby park, and realized far too late that we had far too few napkins. I made a huge mess eating this thing, and I didn’t even care. Hands can always be washed, jeans can be scrubbed. But no morsel of this torta could go undevoured. All of the flavors worked in such harmony together, I wanted to cry at the beauty. OK, I sound insane. I’ll stop now.

These chicken tortas are my ode to and adaption of that memorable sandwich. Instead of pulled chicken, I used pistachios to crust a thin piece of chicken breast, and then baked it until golden brown and crunchy. Combined with black beans, pickled jalapeños, lettuce, tomato and a creamy avocado sauce, this is a full, flavor-packed meal between two pieces of bread.

Pistachio-Crusted Chicken Tortas - Crispy baked chicken breasts topped with mashed black beans, jalapenos, lettuce, tomato and creamy avocado sauce.

Update: On 2/27/14, this recipe was chosen as a Community Pick in Food52′s “Your Best Chicken” contest and professionally photographed by James Ransom:

Pistachio-Crusted Chicken Tortas - Crispy baked chicken breasts topped with mashed black beans, jalapenos, lettuce, tomato and creamy avocado sauce.

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Pistachio-Crusted Chicken Tortas

Yield: 4 servings

Pistachio-Crusted Chicken Tortas

Ingredients

  • For the Chicken:
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 2 large boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut in half lengthwise then pounded to 1/2-inch thickness
  • 3/4 cup whole wheat flour
  • 2 eggs
  • 3/4 cup panko breadcrumbs
  • 1/4 cup shelled Naturebox Chili Lime Pistachios, pulsed in food processor until finely chopped
  • Nonstick cooking spray
  • For the Avocado Sauce:
  • 1 ripe avocado, peeled, pitted and mashed
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • 2 tablespoons sour cream
  • For the Tortas:
  • 4 hoagie buns
  • 1 can (15 ounces) black beans, roughly mashed with their liquid
  • 1/3 cup pickled jalapeños
  • 2 Roma tomatoes, thinly sliced
  • 2 cups lettuce, shredded

Instructions

  1. Prepare Chicken: Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. In small bowl, stir together cumin, salt, paprika, cayenne and cinnamon. Sprinkle both sides of chicken pieces with spice mixture. Place flour in shallow dish. In second shallow dish, lightly whisk eggs. In third shallow dish, combine breadcrumbs and chopped pistachios.
  2. Spray rimmed baking pan with cooking spray. Working with one piece at a time, dip chicken in flour, shaking off excess, then egg and breadcrumb mixture. Place on prepared baking pan. Bake 15 minutes or until lightly browned and internal temperature reaches 165 degrees F, turning once.
  3. Meanwhile, prepare Avocado Sauce: In small bowl, stir together all ingredients.
  4. Make the Tortas: Spread one side of hoagie buns with mashed black beans. Over beans, place chicken, jalapeños, tomatoes, lettuce and Avocado Sauce. Place hoagie bun tops over tortas.

This recipe originally appeared here on the Naturebox blog

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Disclaimer: This post is part of an ongoing relationship I have with NatureBox for recipe development. Posts like this help me pay for the costs associated with this blog (groceries…lots of groceries), and help support me as I pursue a career in recipe development and food photography. All opinions are 100% my own.

12 Responses to “Pistachio-Crusted Chicken Tortas”

  1. Sherri@TheWellFlouredKitchen — November 18, 2013 at 9:52 am

    Um..sign me up for anything that starts with pistachio crusted… I live 30 minutes outside Boston, and why don’t I know about this incredible sandwich? Fortunately, now I don’t have to tackle the unrelenting traffic to taste it, I can try it at home :) Looks Delicious, Pinned!

    Reply

    • Lori | Foxes Love Lemons replied: — November 18th, 2013 @ 4:30 pm

      Thanks Sherri! And oh my gosh, next time you happen to be in the city around breakfast/lunch/brunch time, you must stop at Mike and Patty’s. Soooo good!

  2. Consuelo - Honey & Figs — November 18, 2013 at 9:56 am

    These tortas look amazing. The pistachio crusted chicken sounds amazing, I have to try it! I’m making these for dinner really soon, I bet they’re delish :D

    Reply

  3. Suzanne — November 18, 2013 at 4:52 pm

    Pistachio’s are a great idea, love this sandwich,

    Reply

    • Lori | Foxes Love Lemons replied: — November 19th, 2013 @ 9:40 am

      Thanks so much, Suzanne. My household has been obsessed with pistachios lately!

  4. The Hubs — November 18, 2013 at 9:01 pm

    I think I had a cuban-like sandwich. Something with pork, ham, pickles, and a twist. But, you are right, it was no where near as good as yours. And, I really liked your homemade version as well!!

    Reply

  5. Betsy Cohen — November 18, 2013 at 10:32 pm

    Never stop with your stories….you make me feel like I am with you on your journey! :-)

    Delish looking recipe that I look forward to trying….after the chicken salad in mason jars!

    Reply

    • Lori | Foxes Love Lemons replied: — November 18th, 2013 @ 10:44 pm

      Thanks so much, Betsy. Travel stories are the most interesting to tell. I’m just surprised that I remembered the name of that restaurant all these years later. Well, sort of. Google helped me out a little. I knew it was two people’s first names, and I knew they served breakfast ;)

  6. Sarah | The Sugar Hit — November 19, 2013 at 8:36 am

    SIGN ME UP, because this looks like sandwich freaking heaven.

    Reply

    • Lori | Foxes Love Lemons replied: — November 19th, 2013 @ 9:40 am

      I agree, heaven definitely involves sandwiches! Thanks for stopping by, Sarah!

  7. Susan Stone — November 19, 2013 at 9:38 am

    This looks and sounds yummy. When I saw the black beans, all I could think of was doing this with mole instead of avocado sauce…

    Reply

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