The Humble Mollete
Don’t like words? Skip to the recipe below.
Mexican breakfast is perhaps different to what you usually eat. As a general rule, breakfast refers specifically to desayuno, its literal translation. However there is a sort of a second breakfast, the almuerzo. If you took Spanish in school, you might remember almuerzo as lunch. A more fair explanation would be 2nd breakfast, as the early afternoon meal here is called la comida and in terms of sitting down and the types of foods prepared, it better parallels what is often called dinner or supper. This probably merits an entire post later on. Suffice it to say, molletes are morning food.
So, what’s a mollete? In Mexican context, what you’re looking at is a pizza-type food using readily available Mexican ingredients. If you had the misfortune of eating school lunches in the United States in the 80’s or 90’s, you remember “french bread pizzas”. I hate to make the comparison and disparage the mollete, but it is the first thing that comes to mind. Let’s try again. The mollete (moy-YET-eh) is an open-face sandwich, held together with refried beans and cheese, usually eaten before noon. You can find these little meals in the same street-side eateries where you pick up gorditas or egg dishes. I don’t think there are many rules surrounding the mollete, but they are essentially: bread, beans, cheese and at that point, you can get crazy.
Usually, the bread you will use for a mollete is the bolillo, but here in the north, sometimes it is the mexican Pan frances, which is a french inspired roll with a bit more substance than a telera or a bolillo. Cut the bread in half, as if to make a sandwich, butter the inside of the piece(s) you will use, and toast on a griddle/comal. This bread can be topped with hot refried beans of any kind, then cheese. Pile on as much cheese as you like. If you have a topping/guisado from previous days, this is a good time to use it. I used salpicon de res (shredded beef) for the mollete shown here. Top with your favorite salsa.
- Mexican French Bread or Bolillo
- 4 Tbsp Refried Beans
- 2 oz grated Oaxaca or Chihuahua cheese
- Topping and Salsa of your choice
- Slice your bread, butter, toast.
- Spread beans over toasted bread
- Sprinkle cheese to melt
- Add hot topping and salsa