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Puebla-style cemitas by Francisco Alejandri

Food styling: Ashley Denton/Judy Inc. ( Prop styling: Stephanie Saunders /Judy Inc. Photography: Angus Fergusson/The Globe and Mail

Sí, everyone loves a taco. But for a novel take on Mexican fare, why not serve a platter of cemitas instead? Paired with bright, summery sides, these spectacular sandwiches are the ultimate alfresco party food.

On the eve of his new restaurant opening in Toronto, inventive expat chef Francisco Alejandri opens up his recipe book for Globe Style.

Servings: 4

Ready time: 50 minutes

Puebla-style cemitas

4 chicken breasts, skinned,

deboned and butterflied

Salt and freshly ground

black pepper

¼ cup all-purpose flour

3 whole eggs, beaten

1 cup dried bread crumbs

½ cup canola oil for frying

4 brioche or sesameseed-.

hamburger buns

4 avocados, sliced

½ lb Oaxaca-style cheese,

shredded (or substitute

shredded mozzarella)

4 chipotles in adobo

sauce, thinly sliced

1 medium-sized white onion,

sliced into ½-inch-thick rings

8 slices Black Forest ham

4 tbsp good-quality olive oil


Season the chicken with salt and black pepper.

To make the chicken cutlets (also known in Mexican cooking as milanesas), place the flour, egg and bread crumbs on separate plates or in wide, shallow bowls. Dredge the first chicken breast in the flour and shake off the excess. Dip the breast in the egg, then coat well with bread crumbs. Place the breaded chicken breast on a plate and repeat with the remaining breasts. Transfer the breaded chicken to the fridge for 20 minutes.

Set a heavy-bottomed frying pan over medium high heat. Once the pan is hot, heat the oil and fry the cutlets (in separate batches, if necessary, to avoid overcrowding the pan). When the bread crumbs on the bottom of the cutlet turn golden-brown, flip the breast using a fork or tongs and fry for 5 more minutes or until golden. Set aside on paper towels to drain and keep warm.

To assemble the cemita, slice the buns in half. Distribute half of the avocado slices among the 4 bottom halves of the buns. Place a cutlet over the avocado. Top with shredded cheese, chipotles, onion slices and two slices of ham and finish with the rest of the avocado. Drizzle 1 tablespoon of olive oil over each cemita and cover with the top of the bun.

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