This is one of my favorite dishes to make. It not only tastes amazing, but it looks impressive while being really easy to make. Milanesa is a Central and South American version of the Italian Cotoletta alla Milanese, “little rib”, named after the rib bone that is still attached to the meat on this particular cut of veal. Milanesa is tenderized thinly sliced or pounded thin boneless meat that is breaded and deep-fried or sometimes baked. I first had Milanese in Argentina. Argentine food is more like Italian food, lots of pizza and pasta! Milanese is served all over Central and South America, brought over by Central Europeans. The meat is usually veal but you can use chicken, beef, pork or even soy meat. It is usually served with a slice of lemon and either potato puree, butternut squash puree or French fries. Topping Milanese off with mozzarella cheese, ham, tomato paste, garlic, oregano and basil turns it into Milanesa a la Napolitana in Argentina. There is another type of Milanese called, Cotoletta alla Palermitana, named after its origin in Palermo, Sicily. The breadcrumbs are often mixed with oregano and Parmesan and grilled instead of deep-fried or baked. It’s sometimes grilled on a lemon leaf giving it a unique Sicilian aroma.
The recipe I am giving is a healthier version using whole-wheat products and baking instead of frying.
1/2lb beef, divided into 4 equal pieces and thinly sliced or pounded thin about 1/4-1/2 of an inch thick
1/2c whole-wheat flour
4 eggs, lightly beaten
3-4c whole-wheat panko crumbs
4tbls tomato paste
4 cloves of garlic, finely chopped and divided into 4 portions
2tsp oregano, divided into 4 portions
Salt and pepper to taste
4 thin slices of nice ham
1c mozzarella cheese, shredded and divided into 4 portions
4 basil leaves
Preheat oven to 425 F
In three large bowls or plates put the flour, panko breadcrumbs and beaten egg. Season the beef with salt and pepper and coat with each ingredient starting with the flour, then the egg and lastly the panko. Make sure to press the panko onto the beef with pressure so you get a nice even coating. You may want to do a couple coats of the panko for each piece of beef to make sure you have a nice thick coat of breadcrumbs.
Take the olive oil and lightly drizzle the oil over the meat and put on a baking sheet and slide in the oven for about 10 min. Take the meat out of the oven and turn them over and top them with (in this order) the tomato paste, garlic, oregano, ham and then the cheese. Place them back in the oven for another 7-8 minutes. Take the Milanesa out and top them with a basil leaf or two. Serve it with the lemon wedges.
Butternut Squash Puree
1 large butternut squash, peeled and diced
Salt and pepper to taste
Place the diced squash in a pot of water and put it on the stove on high. Lightly salt the water and boil for 10 minutes or when they are tender.
Strain the squash and add the butter. Mash the squash until a puree and season with salt and pepper.
1 head of romaine lettuce, medium dice
1 tomato, cut into wedges
1 carrot, shredded
1/2 red onion, sliced
Lemon wedges or vinegar
Salt and pepper
Put all the vegetables in a bowl and garnish with the lemon or vinegar and olive oil. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Photos by me and compliments of Getty images