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Going to restaurants can be a bit of a challenge for me. I can be a picky eater especially when it comes to Mexican food. Once I was in Paris, and my friends wanted to take me to a new Mexican restaurant. I reluctantly accepted. My thoughts, How bad can Mexican food be in a foodie paradise like Paris? In short, it was terrible! The restaurant was owned and ran by Italians not Mexicans. They didn’t even speak Spanish and completely destroyed everything we ordered which I relayed to the waitress. She, in turn, sent the chef out. He explained that his menu was for his French customers and not Mexicans. Then he asked me what authentic Mexican dish I thought would appeal to the French. My response: Molletes, or Open-Faced Mexican Sandwiches.
Molletes (pronounced: mo-YEH-tehs) are made with bolillo (or a Mexican bread), refried beans, and Manchego cheese. Then topped with a salsa, usually Pico de Gallo. Do you see why I told this French chef to make this? It’s really hard to mess this dish up. So simple, even an Italian chef pretending to know Mexican food could do it.
Don’t cut the cheese. Cut the bread … In half. After you smear a thin layer of refried beans on the bolillo, add some cheese. It can be hard to find some of our Mexican cheeses in the US. I find that funny because I have NO problem finding American cheeses at my grocery store in Mexico. Molletes are traditionally made with Manchego cheese. If you can’t find it. You can substitute with Monterey Jack, medium white cheddar, or fontina. You want something that will melt easily under the broiler.
Lastly, top the Molletes with Pico de Gallo or your favorite salsa. I like to add some of the juice from the salsa so it can be soaked up by the bread. Or add some eggs. These open-faced Mexican sandwiches are delicious for breakfast. Or add some chorizo for a mid-afternoon snack. Quick and yummy. You can see why this is a favorite in Mexico… (and maybe now Paris too). Enjoy!
Molletes (or Open-Faced Mexican Sandwich)
- 1 bolillo or bread
- 4 tablespoons refried beans divided
- 2 slices Manchego cheese
- Pico de Gallo or your favorite salsa
- Slice the bolillo in half
- Smear 2 tablespoons of refried beans on one half of the bolillo.
- On the other half of the bolillo, smear the remaining 2 tablespoons of refried beans.
- Add Manchego cheese on top of the refried beans.
- Set oven to Broiler.
- Place the prepared boillos open-side up on a pan.
- Place the bolillos under the broiler for 4 minutes or until cheese is melted.
- Top with pico de gallo.