Visibly but loosely inspired by the beloved Mexican torta, this packed sandwich draws one common ingredient from that tradition found less commonly on sandwich menus in the States: potato. Here, frozen hash browns are cooked with chopped chickpeas and tossed in a dressing flavored with cilantro, lime, and jalapeno. Avocado adds necessary and totally dreamy richness while toasted ciabatta gives it all a warm hug.
Filling without feeling heavy, it's a big, fun sandwich, and a little messy. Get a good hold as you would for a Sloppy Joe, and you should come out just fine. Serve with something pickled, and you're ahead of the game. If you're absolutely squeamish about losing filling, tuck this one into pita bread.
Sandwiches are always great for lunch, of course, but note that this one makes a particularly satisfying breakfast sandwich, too.
Cilantro-Lime Chickpea and Potato Sandwich with Avocado
1 lb frozen hash browns (look for a brand that contains nothing but potatoes)
1 15-oz can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1/4 cup tightly packed cilantro (discard any large stems)
1/4 cup olive oil
2 TBSP lime juice (from about 1 lime)
2 medium jalapeno peppers, stemmed and seeded
1/4 tsp fine sea or kosher salt
1 large ciabatta loaf, halved lengthwise
flesh of 1 avocado, sliced
to serve: fine sea or kosher salt, freshly cracked black pepper, dried oregano
Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-medium-high heat. Add hash browns and let cook two minutes, undisturbed.
Meanwhile, add chickpeas to a food processor and pulse until broken down, but a little chunky. Add to skillet, and use a rubber spatula to empty the processor bowl contents into the skillet. Continue to toss with a wide spatula every two minutes until the mixture is hot and the potatoes have browned in places, about 10 minutes total.
While the potatoes and chickpeas cook, return the processor bowl to the base and reattach the blade. Add cilantro, oil, lime juice, jalapeno, and 1/4 tsp salt. Process until thoroughly combined, scraping the sides as needed. This could take a full minute or so.
When the potatoes are ready, remove from heat and stir in dressing. Set aside.
Use the oven broiler to toast the cut side of the bottom of the ciabatta loaf and the outside of the top half of the loaf. Mound the potato mixture generously on the bottom half (you may have a half-cup or so of filling left over depending on the size of your loaf, but don't be shy*). Top with avocado slices. Sprinkle a couple pinches of salt over the avocado, then add black pepper, then dried oregano. Top sandwich, press gently to help pack, slice, and serve with cornichons or pickle of choice.
(*Store any leftover filling in the refrigerator and make a hash, or toss them into your next tofu scramble.)
One final note of thanks about The Knoxville History Project's online fundraiser to launch Knoxville Mercury. They hit the goal, which means their funding will, in fact, go through. Which is fantastic, encouraging, and an enormous relief. There's a stretch goal in place they'll have to work very hard to meet, so if you'd like to spread the word to give them a push in their final days (the Kickstarter ends Saturday night), they could use it. Either way, thanks hugely for being a part of their success. You're all appreciated.