Milanesa a la Napolitana

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The milanesa is a dish common in Latin American countries where generic types of breaded meat fillet preparations are known as a milanesa.

As with much of Argentine cuisine and culture, the roots of the Argentine milanesa are traced back to Italy. The milanesa was brought to the Southern Cone of South America by Italian immigrantspict--political-map-southern-cone-southern-cone-political-map.png during the mass emigration called the Italian diaspora between 1860-1920s. Its name probably reflects an original Milanese preparation, cotoletta alla Milanese, a thin steak or veal chop, dipped in breadcrumbs and friedwhich is similar to the Austrian Wiener Schnitzel.

Generally, a milanesa consists of a thin slice of beef, chicken, veal, or sometimes pork, and even eggplants or soy. In its most basic form, the Argentine milanesa is a simply breaded, thin slice of prime beef from the peceto(round roast cut) or the nalga (eye of round). When selecting your steaks, make sure to look for steaks with little fat and no sinew, which makes the milanesa curl up as you cook it.Ask your local butcher to thinly cut the meat for your milanesas to about 1/4-inch. Once you get them home, soak them in the fridge for an hour or so in a mixture of beaten egg, a splash of milk, a sprinkle of salt, and some finely chopped parsley and garlic. Add a touch of oregano or dried chilies if you crave a spicy taste. When you are ready to cook, dip cutlets in the breadcrumbs (or occasionally flour). I personally like to use Japanese Panko breadcrumbs. You can use whatever yo unlike, as long the breadcrumbs are dry.

Traditionally, milansesa are shallow-fried in oil, one at a time. Some people prefer to use very little oil and then bake them in the oven as a healthier alternative.

There are a million if not more recipes and variations for milanesas. If you wcaballo.jpgant the pure and traditional milanesa experience, squeeze lemon over the crispy hot delicacies and serve with creamy mashed potatoes or fries. But if you want to go a bit fancy, serve it a caballo – on horseback – where a fried egg tops the delicious concoction.

Milanesa napolitana is a variation of the breaded fried steak dish that is popular in Argentina and Uruguay. Milanesa a la Napolitana did not originate from Milan or Naples – it’s thought to have been invented in the 1940’s at a Buenos Aires restaurant called “Nápoli”.

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                                                                       Sandwich de milanesa.   Photo Credit:  Ian Carvell, 2015

Milanesa napolitana is also very  similar to veal Parmesan, but with South American touches – after the steak is breaded and fried, it’s topped with a slice of ham, tomato sauce, and melted mozzarella cheese, and served with french fries.Leftovers make great sandwiches, especially when paired with a soft but crusty roll, just like the lunchtime classic – the sándwich de milanesa. For a basic sandwich, add tomato and lettuce, and you are good to go. Milanesa completa is the slightly souped up version with lettuce, tomato, cheese and ham.

 

Serves 6
 
Ingredients:

6  thinly sliced skillet steaks, such as top round
3 eggs
Dried  oregano, to taste
Kosher salt, to taste
Ground black pepper, to taste
2 1/2  cups panko  bread crumbs
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
2 cloves garlic, finely minced
1/3 cup olive oil
1/2 cup tomato sauce
6 slices of deli ham (or proscuitto)
2 cups grated Mozzarella cheese
Lemon wedges, for serving
Fresh chopped  or sliced tomatoes,  for garnish (optional)
Oven baked fries, for serving

Directions:
Whisk together the eggs, parsley, milk, garlic and oregano. Add salt and pepper to taste.Place the steaks in the egg mixture, cover with plastic wrap and leave the steaks soaking for 30 minutes to one hour in the fridge. The more time the better.

In another shallow pan, stir the Parmesan cheese and garlic into the bread crumbs and set aside.

Remove the steaks from the egg mixture and one by one, dredge the steaks in the crumbs, turning and pressing firmly until they are well coated.

Heat the olive oil in a cast iron skillet, and cook steaks for several minutes on each side, until golden brown and crispy. Drain steaks on paper towels. See the Cook’s Notes for the oven baked cooking method.

Place the  cooked steaks on a  baking sheet. Turn on the oven broiler. Top each steak with a slice of ham, 2-3 tablespoons tomato sauce, and 1/4 cup grated Mozzarella cheese. Sprinkle with oregano  over the cheese and place steaks under broiler until cheese melts.

If desired, top the finished dish with chopped  or sliced tomatoes and serve warm, with fries.

 

Cook’s Notes:
Alternative Oven Baked Cooking Method:

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Lightly brush   a baking sheet with oil and heat it up in the oven.

Place the milanesas on the prepared baking sheet and place the steaks in the oven and cook for about 5 minutes, or until the bottom is golden brown.

Turn over the milanesas and spread on a layer of 2-3 tablespoons tomato sauce, a slice of ham, 1/4 cup grated Mozzarella cheese and  sprinkle with oregano. Turn on oven broiler. Place steaks under broiler until cheese melts.

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TODAY.com Parenting Team FC Contributor

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Fugazetta

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In 1893 Don Augustin Banchero arrived in Buenos Aires, Argentina from Genoa, Italy and opened one of the country’s first pizzerias. The Banchero family, who now have four branches, claim to have invented the fugazza con queso, and this cheese and onion pizza, has since practically become part of the Argentinian staple diet. Fugazzetta is a variation of the popular Argentinian treat, and is very similar to Italian-style.

What makes it different?  Well, fugazzetta is a double crusted version of fugazza, stuffed with cheese and topped with the same sweet onions and slices of green olives. Fugazzetta de verdura has all of this plus a layer of sautéed spinach and vegetables. Fugazetta is more than a  century-old Argentine pizza and it has actually been listed as a food of ‘patrimonial value’ by the Argentine Parliament.

The fugazetta reminds me of the pissaladière , a  savory caramelized onion tart with black olives, that originated from Nice in Southern France, taking  its name from pissala, a pungent anchovy paste that gives the flatbread its distinctive flavor. May I will make that one day and post the results.

Traditionally topped with a copious amount of provolone cheese, finely shredded raw onions, green olives, and dusted with a bit of oregano and red pepper flakes, fugazetta  is a wondrous creation, that is completely vegetarian.

Serves 8 to 10

Ingredients:
*For the Pizza dough:
1 teaspoons Rapid-Rising Dry Yeast
1/2 cup warm water
1 Tablespoons sugar
1 3/4 to  2 cups flour
1/2 Tablespoon coarse salt
2 Tablespoons olive oil
Extra olive oil, for Brushing the crust
*(Or a good-quality store-bought crust.)

For the Toppings:
2 Tablespoons olive oil
4 Vidalia onions, halved, thinly sliced
4 cups shredded Provolone Cheese (or Mozzarella)
3/4 cup Green Spanish  Manzanilla olives, sliced
2 teaspoons dried oregano
Crushed red pepper flakes, to taste

Directions:
In the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with a dough hook, proof the yeast by combining it with the warm water and sugar. Stir gently to dissolve. Let stand 3 minutes until foam appears. Turn mixer on low and slowly add the flour to the bowl. Dissolve salt in 1 tablespoons of warm water and add it to the mixture. Pour in the olive oil. When the dough starts to come together, increase the speed to medium. Stop the machine periodically to scrape the dough off the hook. Mix until the dough is smooth and elastic, about 10 minutes, adding flour as necessary.

Turn the dough out onto a work surface and fold over itself a few times. Form the dough into a round and place in an oiled bowl, turn to coat the entire ball with oil so it doesn’t form a skin. Cover with plastic wrap or damp towel and let rise over a gas pilot light on the stovetop or other warm place until doubled in size, about 45 minutes

Coat a sheet pan with a little olive oil and corn meal. Once the dough is doubled and domed, turn it out onto the counter. Roll and stretch the dough out to an oblong shape about 1/4-inch thick. Lay the flattened dough on the pan and cover with plastic wrap. Let rest for 15 minutes.

In the meantime, coat a small saute pan with olive oil, add the onions, and cook over low heat for 30-45 minutes until the onions are deep brown and caramelized. Add a pinch of salt and a few grinds of black pepper, then cook for another few minutes. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Uncover the dough. Brush the crust with a bit of olive oil, then Scatter the provolone cheese, caramelized onions, olives, oregano and red pepper flakes over he surface of the dough.  Bake on the bottom rack for 10 to 15 minutes.

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TODAY.com Parenting Team FC Contributor