Monday, August 17, 2009


Have you ever met someone for the first time and as you are meeting them, their looks and characteristics completely remind you of someone else? You know it's NOT that other person but they LOOK like they could be their twin.

That's what I felt when I "met" the Argentinian dish milanesa this past weekend. I've never had it before. Heck I've never even heard of it, so I did a bit of online research. It is a dish from South America that is beef dredged in flour, then egg-wash, and then bread crumbs and then pan fried. That looks and sounds like a recipe I already know!

Milanesa? Sounds like good ol' chicken fried steak or weinerschnitzel. Turns out they are all three basically triplets separated at birth (See The Globalization of Think Slices of Beef).I'm pretty limited in my range as a cook, mostly sticking to American southern cooking, not South American cooking. I needed help from someone with more gourmet experience, so I emailed Greg of SippitySup for some advice. He advised to go with Italian influences, which made sense (Milanesa....Milan).

The two basic versions that I kept seeing. First is the Sandwich De Milanesa which is simply a Milanesa po'boy or sub. The second is Milanesa a la Napolitana, which is Milanesa topped with tomato sauce, ham, and cheese then broiled.

Both sounded great so I combined the two! Forgive the picture quality, I intended for this to be a practice cook and didn't bother with any lighting that night.

1 lb sirloin steak sliced our pounded into 1/4 to 1/8th inch thickness
1/2 c all purpose flour seasoned with salt and pepper
2 ea eggs (beaten with 1 ounce of cold water to make an egg wash)
1 cup panko bread crumbs (seasoned with the next three spices)
1 T thyme, fresh chopped
1 T basil, fresh chopped
1 T oregano, fresh chopped
1 loaf Italian bread
1/2 cup of marinara sauce
4-6 slices of provolone or mozzarella cheese
oil and butter as needed

Cut bread into 4 pieces. Split each piece, brush with olive oil and grill or broil until toasted. Set aside.

Set up your dipping stations while your pan is heating with butter and oil. You'll be doing the standard "flour>egg wash>breading>into the pan" so I like to set them up in that order to make it more efficient.

Once the oil is hot but not smoking, dredge the steak in the seasoned flour on both sides. Then dip it into the egg wash. Then dredge it through the seasoned bread crumbs, coating it well. Place the steak pieces into the hot oil (work in small batches if necessary, don't crowd the pan) and cook about 2 minutes a side. I go more by sight, they should be a nice golden brown.

Top each bottom piece of bread with one or two pieces of the steak.Top that with the marinara sauce.And cheese, glorious cheese.Pop it in the broiler just long enough to start to melt the cheese. I added more marinara.This is a horrible picture but it shows the completed sandwich. I ended up making a double decker and it was a filling meal! The crisp texture of the toasted bread and milanesa countered the bubbling cheese.I will definitely be making this again, but next time I also want to make the milanesa as an entree with traditional sides.