Originating in the city of Puebla, the cemita poblana is Mexico’s version of a schnitzel sandwich. Traditionally, the schnitzel was made from thinly sliced and deep-fried beef, but over the years pork has found its way into this monster of a sandwich. Huge, slightly sweet rolls dotted with sesame seeds are stuffed until bursting with avocado, onions, pickles, herbs and Mexican white cheese, most notably quesillo – a Mexican string cheese similar in taste to mozzarella.
- 185 ml (¾ cup) apple cider vinegar, plus 20 ml extra
- 1½ tbsp caster sugar
- ½ tsp salt
- 1 pinch of chilli powder
- 1 red onion, cut into 2mm rings
- 5 jalapeño chillies
- 1 small clove garlic, chopped
- 1 egg yolk
- ½ tsp smoked sweet paprika
- 150 ml vegetable oil, plus extra to shallow fry
- 2 tbsp plain flour
- 2 eggs, lightly beaten
- 1 cup fresh breadcrumbs
- 4 120 g pork loin steaks, trimmed
- 4 large sesame seed rolls
- 2 cups picked watercress
- 1 avocado, sliced
- 100 g quesillo (see Note), torn
Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.
Combine vinegar, sugar, salt, chilli powder and 50 ml water in a saucepan. Place over a medium heat and bring to the boil. Place onions in a heatproof bowl and pour over the pickling liquid. Set aside until ready to use, turning onions occasionally in the pickle. Drain.
Blacken the japaleños over a direct flame, turning frequently, until lightly charred, 5–6 minutes. Place in a bowl, cover with plastic wrap and allow to steam for 10 minutes. Remove the plastic wrap and allow to cool. Using a sharp knife, gently scrape away the skin and remove the seeds and membrane. Slice thinly.
In a mortar and pestle, place 1 roasted jalapeño chilli, garlic and a pinch of salt. Pound until you have a smooth paste. Add egg yolk, paprika and extra apple cider vinegar and mix until combined. Transfer the mixture to a bowl and slowly whisk in the vegetable oil, drop by drop at first, until emulsified. Season to taste, adding more salt or vinegar to balance the flavour.
Using a meat mallet, pound the pork loin steaks out to an even 1.5 cm thickness. Place the flour, eggs and breadcrumbs in separate bowls. Dust each schnitzel in flour, dip in egg, then coat well in breadcrumbs.
Heat 1 cm oil in a large frying over medium-high heat. Cook pork for 2–3 minutes each side until golden and crisp. Remove from the pan and drain on paper towel.
To serve, spread the bases of the bread rolls with mayo and top with a schnitzel, roasted jalapeños, avocado and quesillo. Add the pickled onions, drizzle with more mayo and top with watercress.
• Quesillo is a semi-hard cow’s milk cheese produced in a similar way to fresh mozzarella. The curds are stretched into fine threads before being sold in balls. In Australia, quesillo is available from specialist cheese producers. If unavailable, substitute fresh mozzarella.