Recently, I ventured to Chicagoland for work. Prior to said trip, my colleagues and I planned ahead on where where to dine, and Rick Bayless’ XOCO made the cut. I’ve had the pleasure of dining at Bayless’ Topolobampo two years ago before the Chicago Marathon (not the night before, mind you), so I was more than excited to eat at XOCO.
Why? XOCO is all about Mexican tortas. If I could write a poem on how much I love the sandwich (that’s a torta), I’d do so. Alas, poetry was never my forté, so I’ll just continue to use phrases like, “NOMFACE” and “OMGSANDWICHES,” simply because my mind gets so caught up with what’s between the bread that I can’t concentrate on the English language.
I purchased myself the woodland mushroom torta, a behemoth of a sandwich containing goat cheese, black beans, salsa, and the star ingredient, sauteed woodland mushrooms.
And after I said I’d be far too filled from the first half, I mopped up my plate.
Then my colleague gave me the greatest idea ever:
“You should recreate that at home.”
And so I did.
1 lb. mixed mushrooms like woodland, cremini, shiitake, or oyster, thinly sliced
5 large cloves of garlic, unpeeled
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
½ cup Rick Bayless’ chipotle salsa
4 oz. fresh goat cheese
1 heaping handful of arugula
4 thick slices of a boule or other crusty loaf of bread
Extra-virgin olive oil
Salt & pepper
1. Preheat oven to 400˚F. Slice off the tops of garlic cloves; place in aluminum foil; drizzle with oil; close foil; roast for 30 minutes until golden and tender.
2. Prepare mushrooms: Heat large non-stick skillet over medium-high heat; add ¼ cup olive oil; add mushrooms; season with salt and pepper; sauté 15 minutes until golden; season to taste; reserve.
3. Prepare black beans: Combine black beans, salsa, and roasted garlic in a medium saucepan; bring to boil; simmer for 10 minutes, breaking up the black beans; season to taste; reserve.
4. Assemble sandwiches: Place bread slices on baking tray, drizzle with oil; bake for 5-7 minutes until golden; remove from oven, top with goat cheese, black bean mix, mushrooms, arugula, and second slice of bread. Eat eat eat.