Pistachio-Crusted Chicken Tortas
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.
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.
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.
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
- Olive oil nonstick cooking spray
- 1/2 cup shelled pistachios
- 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 2 eggs
- 3/4 cup panko breadcrumbs
- 2 large boneless, skinless chicken breasts
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon paprika
- 1/4 teaspoon cayenne
- 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Spray rimmed baking pan with cooking spray.
- In bowl of food processor fitted with knife blade attachment, pulse pistachios until finely chopped.
- Place flour in shallow dish. In second shallow dish, lightly whisk eggs. In third shallow dish, stir together breadcrumbs and chopped pistachios.
- In small bowl, stir together cumin, salt, paprika, cayenne and cinnamon.
- Cut chicken breasts in half lengthwise. Depending on the brand of chicken, the tenderloin portion may be attached to the breasts, and it may split away while you're cutting the chicken (so you'll may end up with 3 pieces per breast) - this is fine. Working with a few pieces at a time, place chicken in large zip-top bag and pound to 1/4- to 1/2-inch thickness. Place chicken in even layer on two large plates and sprinkle both sides of chicken pieces with cumin mixture.
- Working with one piece at a time, dredge chicken in flour, then egg, then breadcrumb mixture, allowing excess flour and egg to fall away before moving to next step. Place chicken on prepared baking pan. Lightly spray chicken with cooking spray.
- Transfer to oven and bake 12 to 15 minutes or until lightly browned and internal temperature reaches 165 degrees F, turning once.
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.
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…
SIGN ME UP, because this looks like sandwich freaking heaven.
I agree, heaven definitely involves sandwiches! Thanks for stopping by, Sarah!
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!
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 😉
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!!
Pistachio’s are a great idea, love this sandwich,
Thanks so much, Suzanne. My household has been obsessed with pistachios lately!
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 😀
Thanks so much, Consuelo. i hope you enjoy them!
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!
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!