Chicken and Cheese Torta

The late Maya Angelou once said, “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” Rest in Peace, sage lady. But I don’t think anyone will soon forget all that you have said and done.

Little known fact about Maya Angelou—she got her start singing a Calypso act. At a night club, Angelou met Billie Holiday (sigh), who told her that she would indeed be famous one day, but not for her singing. Perhaps this is also what Billie would have told me, however without the assuring twinkle in her eye.

People will surely forget what I’ve said about this dish once they taste it, because the overwhelming feeling of deliciousness will have overcome them to a bliss for which there are no words–akin to a place where I hope Madam Angelou has gone.

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Chicken and Two Cheese Torta

Adapted from Food and Wine July 2012

1 Hass avocado, chopped

2 tablespoons plain yogurt

1 tablespoon fresh lime juice

1/2 small red onion, minced

1 small jalapeño, minced

1/2 teaspoon ground cumin

3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

Salt

Freshly ground pepper

3 cups thickly shredded rotisserie chicken ( 3/4 pound)

1 1/2 cups shredded fresh mozzarella

2 tablespoons grated Cotija or pecorino cheese

4 Portuguese or Kaiser rolls, toasted

1/4 cup sliced pickled jalapeños

1/2 cup jarred tomatillo salsa

2 cups shredded iceberg lettuce

In a bowl, mash the avocado with a fork. Stir in the yogurt, lime juice, onion, jalapeño, cumin and 1 tablespoon of olive oil and season with salt and pepper.

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In a large nonstick skillet, heat the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Add the chicken in an even layer and cook over moderately high heat until crisp on the bottom, about 3 minutes. Scatter the mozzarella and Cotija cheeses over the chicken, cover the skillet and remove from the heat. Let stand until the mozzarella is melted.

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Split the rolls and spread the mashed avocado on the bottom halves. Top with the chicken mixture, then add the pickled jalapeños, tomatillo salsa and lettuce. Close the tortas and serve right away.

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Not quite a Calypso tribute but certainly a Spanish attempt. Extremely savory.

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