Grilled Skirt Steak or Zucchini Tortas

Homemade Tortas
  • Servings: 8
  • Provided by:

    Ingredients Print Recipe

  • 1 medium red onion, sliced into 1/4-inch thick rounds
  • A little vegetable oil
  • 1 pound skirt steak OR 1 pound (2 to 3) zucchinis, sliced lengthwise a little less than 1/2-inch thick
  • 2 24-inch baguettes
  • Simple Mashed Black Beans
  • Chipotle Steak Sauce
  • Avocado-Cilantro Mayonnaise
  • 8 ounces (about 2 cups) shredded Mexican Chihuahua cheese or other melting cheese like Monterey Jack or mild cheddar


1. Grill the onions. Light a charcoal fire and let the coals burn until they are covered with grey ash and medium-hot; set the grill grate in place. Or heat a gas grill to medium. Brush both sides of the onion slices with a little oil, sprinkle with salt, then lay in a single layer on the grill (this is easiest to manage on a perforated grill pan). Grill, turning at least once, until richly browned and soft, about 10 minutes. Scoop onto a cutting board.

2. Grill the steak or zucchini. Brush both sides of the steak or zucchini slices with a little oil, sprinkle with salt and lay on the grill. Grill, turning at least once, until the steak is medium (or more well done if you like) or the zucchini tender, about 7 minutes. Transfer to the cutting board. Chop the onion and steak (or zucchini) into small pieces (about 1/2-inch is my preference). Scoop into a skillet and keep warm on the grill.

3. Assemble the tortas. Cut the baguette in half, then split each half lengthwise. Scratch out most of the soft bread from the top and bottom. Smear the bottom pieces with beans and lay face-down on the grill to warm for a minute. Flip them over and spoon a portion of the filling into each piece. Splash about 1/4 of the chipotle sauce over the meat on each piece. Smear each top baguette piece with avocado mayo, then press in a portion of the cheese. Set each top piece over a bottom. Turn the tortas over the fire until the cheese is melted and the bread is crisp, usually about 8 minutes. Cut each half in half and serve to your lucky guests.

Simple Mashed Black Beans
Makes 1 1/2 cups


  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil or lard
  • 3 garlic cloves, peeled and finely chopped
  • 1 15-ounce can black (or other color) beans, drained
In a large (10-inch) skillet, heat the oil over medium. Add the garlic and stir for a minute, then add the beans. Use an old-fashioned potato masher or back of a large spoon to mash the beans into a coarse puree. Remove from the heat and stir in enough water to give the beans an easily spreadable consistency, usually about 2 tablespoons. Taste and season with salt, usually about 1/2 teaspoon.

Chipotle Steak Sauce
Makes 1 1/2 cups sauce


  • 1 14-ounce can diced tomatoes in juice (preferably fire-roasted)
  • 3 garlic cloves, peeled and halved
  • 3 canned chipotle chiles en adobo OR 8 to 10 dried arbol chiles
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano, preferably Mexican oregano
  • 2 tablespoons cider vinegar
  • Salt
In a food processor or blender, combine, the tomatoes, garlic, chiles, oregano and vinegar. Process until smooth. Pour into a small (2-quart) saucepan and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Simmer 15 minutes, remove from the heat and stir in water, if necessary, to give the sauce the consistency of steak sauce. Taste and season highly with salt, usually 1 1/2 teaspoons. Cool, pour into a bottle and refrigerate until needed.

Avocado-Cilantro Mayonnaise
About 1 cup


  • 1/2 cup top-quality mayonnaise
  • 1 avocado, pitted, flesh scooped from the skin
  • 1/4 cup (loosely packed) roughly chopped cilantro
In a food processor, combine the mayonnaise, avocado and cilantro. Pulse until mayo and avocado are thoroughly combined. Taste and season with salt, usually about 1/4 teaspoon.

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