A Mexican torta with beef on the tradition bolillo roll (photo © Hofack 2 | Panther Media).
 Fusion food: an avocado and beef torta on a French baguette, instead of a Mexican bolillo roll (photo © Avocados From Mexico).
 In Mexico around 1900, the French baguette was shortened and widened into a roll called bolillo (photo courtesy Glane23 | Wikipedia).
 The telera is another roll used for tortas. Here’s a recipe to bake your own (photo © King Arthur Flour).
 A vegetarian torta: black beans, avocado (photo © Frontier Foods).
May 5th is National Hoagie Day. It’s also Cinco de Mayo, where Mexican food is the cuisine of the day. So how about some fusion food: a celebratory mashup. Make a hoagie sandwich with Mexican ingredients—in other words, a torta sandwich on a hoagie roll.
First, let’s clarify: Torta means different things in different cultures (and it’s not to be confused with tart, tort or torte).
In Spain and some Latin America countries, torta is a sweet cake, such as a birthday or wedding cake. In Mexico, that sweet cake is referred to as a pastel.
In the Middle East, tarts are called tortas.
In the Philippines, torta is an omelet.
Here are more uses of “torta” around the world.
But in Mexico and some other parts of Latin America, torta is a sandwich, made on a roll called a bolillo (photo #1).
Telera (photo #3) is another type of roll used for a Mexican torta: flatter and thinner than the bolillo.
Some sources say that bakers in Mexico took inspiration from the French baguette, and made a shorter loaf called a bolillo or pan francés (French bread) to make sandwiches.
Telera rolls are also used. Here’s a recipe to bake your own (photo #4).
According to Spoon University, the most traditional torta, whether on a bolillo or telera roll, is stuffed with pork carnitas (braised slices of pork).
The torta is then either media ahogada (“half drowned” or partially dipped) in spicy salsa, or bien ahogada (“well drowned”).
Modern tortas are made in endless varieties—including vegetarian and vegan. Different regions of Latin American have their own favorite ingredients.
HOW TO MAKE A TORTA SANDWICH
Bolillo or telera, the roll is spread with butter and filled with any desired ingredient (or at home, anything at hand):
Avocado spread or guacamole)
Eggs, typically scrambled
Lettuce, tomato, onion
Meats (beef, ham, pork carnitas, etc.)
Oaxaca cheese (substitute string cheese)
Anything else you like, on a buttered bolillo or telera roll
Compare these to typical hoagie ingredients: There’s a lot of overlap, just with a different national flair.
So celebrate two holidays at once: Instead of a bolillo or talera roll, place the ingredients on a hero roll.
Or get fancy, and use a baguette or ciabatta roll.
HOW TO MAKE A HOAGIE SANDWICH
The ingredients are not too far apart from a torta. Ingredients also vary for a traditional Italian-style hoagie versus an American variation, with roast beef or turkey and American-style cheeses.
Cheese (American, cheddar, provolone cheese)
Lettuce, tomato, onion
Italian dressing (red wine vinegar and olive oil)
Meats (capicola, Genoa salami, ham, soppressata, roast beef, turkey)
Peppers (pepperoncini, pickled cherry peppers, roasted red peppers)
On a hero roll
Ready to celebrate? Grab the ingredients and start building those sandwiches.
> CINCO DE MAYO HISTORY
> HOAGIE HISTORY & HOW TO MAKE A GOURMET HOAGIE
> SANDWICH HISTORY