We recently interviewed Liz Caskey, a chef, sommelier, food/wine writer, and owner of Liz Caskey Culinary & Wine Experience based in Santiago, Chile. Liz recently wrote a cookbook, Knack South American Cooking(Globe Pequot Press, 2010), and was kind enough to let us use this milanesa recipe of hers.
From Liz Caskey: “Milanesa is a wildly popular meat dish throughout South America, particularly in Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Peru, and Uruguay. Beef fillet is breaded with a flavorful coating and pan-fried till golden. It was brought to the continent by central European immigrants and is very similar to the Austrian Wiener schnitzel.
Milanesas can be made with steak, veal, chicken, or even vegetarian with soy. The protein is dipped into eggs and then patted with the bread crumb crust and shallow-fried. Milanesas are often served with mashed potatoes, buttered noodles, or salad as accompaniments and make for quick, healthy lunches. Particularly in Argentina and Uruguay, milanesas are such staples that you can buy them already made at any neighborhood butcher.”
RECIPE: An Argentine Milanesa, aka Breaded Pan-Fried Steak (from Knack South American Cooking)
Yield: 6 servings
- 1 pound rump roast, thinly sliced
- 3 eggs, beaten
- 1 cup flour
- 1 cup bread crumbs
- 1 teaspoon oregano
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/8 teaspoon pepper
- 1/2–1 cup oil, for frying
- Pound the steaks out to desired width, about 1/4 inch.
- Place the flour on a plate, the beaten eggs in a shallow bowl, and the bread crumbs on another plate. Combine the bread crumbs with, garlic, salt, and pepper.
- To assemble, season steaks with salt and pepper and dredge them in flour. Pass through eggs and cover with bread crumbs, patting so they stick. Shake to remove excess.
- Heat oil in skillet and sear on both sides until golden, about 4 minutes.
Bread the Steak
- Use fine dried bread crumbs for best results.
- For a healthier option, try whole-wheat bread crumbs.
- Play with the herbs if you like. You can add dried chives, marjoram, basil, or other spices to kick up the flavor.
Pan–Fry the Steak
- Use a large enough pan for 3 or 4 steaks. Be sure it is completely coated with oil.
- Add new oil between batches.
- Keep heat on medium-high to sear but not overcook and dry out the thin meat.
- Serve immediately to maintain crisp texture.
Make it Easy: Milanesas freeze well and are a terrific quick dish to prepare in minutes. Make a large batch and freeze between wax paper sheets. When frozen solid, wrap in aluminum foil and keep up to two months. To cook, simply heat the oil and cook them frozen.
Variation: Neapolitan Style: Dip 4 thinly sliced steak fillets in 2 beaten eggs. Dredge in bread crumbs and shake. Heat 2 tablespoons oil and pan-fry until golden on both sides. Remove from pan. Spoon 2 tablespoons pizza or tomato sauce onto the milanesa and cover with 1/4 cup mozzarella cheese. Sprinkle with oregano and broil for 5 minutes until bubbling.
Writer and photographer Nicholas Gill is the editor/publisher of New World Review. He lives in Lima, Peru and Brooklyn, New York. His work has appeared in publications such as the New York Times, Los Angeles Times, CondeNast Traveler, National Geographic Traveler, Afar, and Penthouse. Visit his personal website (nicholas-gill.com) for more information.