This is a very simple meal. It is one of those meals that you just put together and I had fun preparing it and sharing memories about barritas and growing up the Rio Grande Valley.
The origins of “barritas” come from my childhood in South Texas where there was an abundance of Mexican bakeries or “panaderias.” My sister blogged about this experience. See “Mexican Panaderias” https://twostatesoneplate.wordpress.com/2012/02/14/mexican-panaderias/
In South Texas and throughout Mexico, one can buy fresh French bread in addition to pan de dulce (pastries) at these panaderias. The smaller loaves of French bread are called “barritas.” We often sliced and toasted them in the oven if there were any left by the time we got home from the panaderia. We would top them with butter, with butter, cinnamon, and sugar, or with beans and cheese like this recipe.
I used ciabatta bread from the grocery store since I don’t have easy access to a panaderia like I did growing up. While I missed the real bread from the bakery, the ciabatta bread and was a good substitute. I topped these with mashed pinto beans that I had made in the slow cooker but you could use canned beans for even greater ease. I topped with thin cheddar cheese slices and baked in the oven and served with sauteed asparagus. Enjoy! If you were at our table, I’d raise my toasted barrita and toast to South Texas bakeries and childhood memories! Cheers!
Ciabatta bread or French bread sliced
Refried beans (mashed pinto beans with crushed garlic, a pinch of kosher salt, and black pepper)
Cheddar cheese (sliced thinly or grated)
Slice bread. Top with pinto beans and cheese. Bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes. Broil for 1 to 2 minutes (watch closely) until the cheese is caramelized.
I served the barritas with sauteed asparagus.
1 bunch fresh asparagus (washed with the hard stems cut off)
1 T. Grapeseed Oil
1 T. Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 T. Balsamic Vinegar
Heat grapeseed oil in large pan or wok on medium high heat. Add asparagus and salt and pepper. Saute for 3-4 until asparagus is bright green. Add balsamic vinegar and cook for 1 more minute. Remove from heat. Drizzle with olive oil. Serve.