It was during my two years living in South America that I discovered Milanesa. It’s one of the most common dishes; an unsung hero of South American cuisine. Not elegant, it’s a daily staple. Ubiquitous, and varying in details from country to country. A breaded cutlet of meat; pounded thin, and shallow fried in a pan. I ate most of my Milanese with mozzarella and tomato; milanesa a la napolitana. Looking back, it seems impossible to believe that I have never made a proper Milanese since leaving South America 15 years ago; coming very close with this Wiener Schnitzel. Today’s recipe is simpler than the Weiner Schnitzel. I ground my own bread crumbs, and made the typical three-plate assembly line; flour, egg wash, bread crumbs. The end result absorbed a little too much oil during the cooking process, and took 3-1/2 minutes per side to reach the correct internal temperature of 145-degrees; over-browning the bread crumbs. 3-stars. My kids loved it, but my health-couscousness knows that it absorbed too much oil during cooking.
I have not yet been able to visit South America again (the world is filled with so many places to visit). Finally, I plan to return to South America; Quito, Bogota, and Cartagena.
- Chris Kimball’s recipe for Milanese uses boneless, skinless chicken breasts. Today I used pork tenderloin because it offers more flavor and has less of a tendency to dry out. Chicken cutlets should be pounded to 1/2″ thickness in Step 2, rather than 1/4″ for pork.
- Today’s recipe simply grinds up pieces of bread into bread crumbs. Unfortunately, the un-toasted bread crumbs seemed to absorb more oil that pre-toasted ones. I prefer the recipe for Wiener Schnitzel.
- The final temperature of Pork tenderloin is 145-degrees. If you cook chicken breast, cook until 160-degrees.
Rating: 3 stars.
How much work? Medium.
How big of a mess? Medium/High.
Start time 5:30 PM. Finish time 6:00 PM.
Chris Kimball’s original recipe is here, which calls for chicken. The descriptions of how I prepared this today, using pork tenderloin, are given below:
1 pork tenderloin (about 1-1/4 pounds).
Salt and ground black pepper
5 large high-quality sandwich bread
1/4-cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/2-cup all-purpose flour
3/4-cups + 1 Tablespoon vegetable oil
2 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley leaves
2 tablespoons capers
1 large hard-cooked egg
- Set rack to lower-middle of your oven and pre-heat to 200-degrees.
- Trim off any fat and remove the silver skin. Cut the tenderloin on a diagonal into 3 or 4 equal pieces. Cutting on a diagonal will ensure the pieces are oblong, instead of round. Place one piece at a time inside a gallon-sized bag and pound to an even thickness of 1/4″. Remove from bag and season cutlets with salt and pepper. Repeat pounding process with remaining cutlets.
- Pat cutlets dry with paper towels and season with salt and pepper.
- Remove crust and slice bread into 3/4″ cubes. Add to food processor and process for 20 to 30 seconds until to fine crumbs (resulting in 1-1/2 cups bread crumbs). Empty into a shallow dish or pie plate; mixing in Parmesan.
- Place 1/2-cup flour in second shallow dish. Lightly beat eggs in third shallow dish and mix with 1 tablespoon vegetable oil.
- Working with 1 cutlet at a time, dredge thoroughly in flour, shaking off excess. Use tongs to coat with egg mixture, ensuring to coat the entire surface, allowing any excess egg to drip back. You want to ensure a very thin and even coating. Finally coat evenly with bread crumbs, gently pressing so that the crumbs adhere.
- Place breaded cutlets on plate to allow the coating to dry for 5 minutes.
- Meanwhile, prepare a wire rack, setting in rimmed baking sheet, and covering half the rack with a triple layer of paper towels. Prepare your garnishes. Slice a lemon into wedges, chop your parsley, rinse you capers to remove the brine, and separate your egg white and yolk (either crumble or pass separately through a fine-mesh strainer).
- Put a 12″-nonstick skillet over medium-high burner, pre-heat 3/4-cup vegetable oil until the oil begins to shimmer. Cook 2 cutlets at a time in skillet for 2-1/2 to 3 minutes per side, gently pressing on cutlets with spatula for even browning. The cutlets will be ready when they are deeply golden brown, crispy and the pork registers 145-degrees.
- Put cutlets on paper towel–lined side of prepared wire rack to dry (from Step 8) for 15 seconds per side. Move cutlets to unlined side of wire rack and keep warm in 200-degree oven. Repeat from Step 9 with remaining cutlets.
- Serve with lemon wedges and other garnishes.