Pepitos (Mexican Steak Sandwiches with Chipotle Crema)

The pepito might be one of the lesser known of the Mexican tortas but it is one of my favorites. This northern Mexican sandwich is served on toasted bolillos (small French rolls), smothered with a tangy, spicy and smoky chipotle crema. The steaks are quick-marinated in lime juice, olive oil and garlic for an easy weeknight skillet torta. But if you have more time, let the steaks marinate for a few hours and fire up the grill for a smokier version of this mouthwatering torta.
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  • Level: Easy
  • Total: 25 min
  • Active: 25 min
  • Yield: 4 tortas
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Ingredients

Directions

  1. Stir together the lime juice, 3 tablespoons of the olive oil, 2 of the grated garlic cloves and 1 1/2 teaspoons salt in a medium bowl until completely combined. Add the steak, toss to coat and let sit until ready to cook. (Steaks can be marinated for up to 6 hours in the refrigerator, covered tightly with plastic wrap.)
  2. Stir together the crema, chipotle (1 for mild, 2 for medium, 3 for spicy), adobo and remaining 1 grated garlic clove in a small bowl until completely combined. Let sit until ready to assemble.
  3. Heat a large skillet, preferably cast-iron, over high heat until very hot, about 2 minutes. Cook the scallions until charred on both sides, 3 to 5 minutes. Transfer to a plate and set aside until ready to serve.
  4. Add the remaining 1 tablespoon oil to the hot skillet and cook the steaks (they will soak up all of the marinade so no need to drain), until charred on both sides, 2 to 3 minutes per side for medium rare. Let rest 10 minutes. Slice against the grain into thin strips.
  5. Spread a generous amount of the chipotle crema on the split sides of each bolillo and divide the steak among the 4 bottom bolillos. Top with the sliced avocado, jalapeños and cilantro. Top with the tomatoes and season with salt. Close the sandwiches and serve with the charred scallions.