What Are Cemitas?
Cemitas poblanas are Mexican sandwiches from the state of Puebla, and they’re named for their signature bread. Cemita rolls are distinct from the bolillos used to make tortas; while bolillos are crispy like French bread, cemita rolls are a brioche-like egg-based bread with sesame seeds.
Pueblan cemita sandwiches generally stick to a classic formula of meat (milanesa or taco fillings like carnitas), white cheese (such as quesillo or queso Oaxaca), avocado, pápalo leaves (an herb with a flavor somewhere between arugula and cilantro), and either pickled jalapeños or smoky chipotle chiles in adobo sauce. In Puebla, cemitas are often served cold, whereas in the United States, they are often toasted on a griddle and served warm.
Mexican Cemita Sandwich Recipe
Prep Time14 min
Total Time20 min
Cook Time6 min
- 1 chicken cutlet (about 4 ounces)
- ⅛ teaspoon kosher salt
- ⅛ teaspoon black pepper
- ½ cup all-purpose flour
- 1 egg, beaten
- ½ cup panko breadcrumbs
- ¼ cup olive oil, plus more for drizzling
- 1 cemita roll (or substitute brioche or sesame seed bun)
- ½ avocado, lightly mashed
- ¼ cup shredded Oaxacan cheese (or substitute mozzarella string cheese)
- 1 canned chipotle chile in adobo sauce, roughly chopped
- 1 tablespoon diced raw white onion
- ¼ cup pápalo leaves (or substitute cilantro leaves)
- Make the milanesa. Pound the chicken cutlet to ¼ inch in thickness and pat dry with paper towels. Season with salt and pepper. Place flour, egg, and breadcrumbs each in a shallow bowl. Dredge the chicken cutlet first in flour, then egg, then breadcrumbs.
- In a sauté pan over medium-high heat, heat olive oil until shimmering. Add the breaded chicken cutlet to the oil and fry until golden brown, about 3 minutes per side. Using tongs, remove milanesa to a paper towel-lined baking sheet or plate and sprinkle with a pinch of salt.
- Slice cemita roll in half and spread the bottom half with mashed avocado. Top with chicken milanesa, then add shredded cheese, chipotle, white onion, and pápalo. Drizzle with olive oil and top with the other half of the cemita roll.
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