How to make milanesas – the most delicious thing in the world
I’ll start this piece with an admission: I am not the world’s best cook. Far from it. Millions of people claim to enjoy cooking. “It soothes me,” they say smugly. “Helps me unwind after a hard day.”
Well, not me. For me, food preparation is simply a thing I have to do so I don’t die of starvation.
That said, I’m not a ready-meal man. I can knock up a spaghetti bolognese from scratch. I can do a basic risotto and that kind of thing. But for most other things, I’m happy enough to use a jar.
One thing I can cook, however, is milanesas. And I only do that because they are super easy to make. And delicious. Seriously delicious. I was thinking about it last week (I often find myself thinking about milanesas) and I concluded that it is probably my favourite food of all.
It is a South American variation on an Italian dish (though my boss Tim has just pointed out that what I’m describing is basically beef schnitzel), but nonetheless I will now explain how I make them. Disclaimer: this may not (in fact is almost certainly not) the correct way, and I’m sure any Argentines, Chileans or Peruvians will be appalled at my method, but here we go.
First off, buy some beef filet steak, and slice it thinly, before giving it a bash with a meat tenderiser. You basically want to go as thin as you can, without it being see-through.
Then make your marinade. For this, I use a mixture of red wine, olive oil, a little salt and pepper and some mixed herbs, and a couple of cloves of chopped up garlic.
Stick the fillet in, cover, and stick in the fridge overnight so the meat soaks up the marinade.
When you’re ready to cook them, whisk up an egg in a flat-ish bowl, then take each slice of fillet and dip in the bowl until covered in the egg, then cover in breadcrumbs.
They should look like this when you're ready to fry them (Pic: Josh Branchaud/Flikr Creative Commons)
Then simply shallow fry for a couple of minutes in some oil (it won’t take long, since the steak has been sliced thinly).
I’m told Argentines tend to serve theirs with mashed potato, but I prefer chips with my milanesas.
I also top the steak with a fried egg or two, which is known as milanesa a caballo, or ‘milanesa riding horseback. Which is cool.
There are plenty of other variations, including milanesa a la napolitana, which involves adding mozzarella cheese, tomato, and sometimes ham on top of the beef, but I like mine the simple way.
You can also use other meats if you like: chicken or pork will also work, but I prefer beef.
The beauty of milanesas is they are not only delicious when cooked fresh, they are just as nice as leftovers the following day – and they are perfect as a sandwich filling.
So, there you go. Go and make milanesas – I dare you not to fall in love.