The first time I ever had what I knew as Milanesa was during my second trip to San Miguel de Allende. My wonderful host/hostess (former boss & better half) had just moved to San Miguel and I was part of their entourage on the trip down: Doc, Emily, me, 5 cats and 4 or 5 dogs – I don’t remember the exact count anymore. We flew down to together on a small private jet (TOO small – we had to leave 1/2 of their belongings on the tarmac!).
Here is the master plan for making juicy milanesas with a crisp coating. Virtually any fresh herb or ground spice—oregano, sage, parsley, basil, cumin, or coriander, to name a few—can be added to the bread-crumb coating. A little finely grated Parmesan cheese makes a nice addition too.
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
- Six 3- to 4-ounce veal, turkey, pork, beef, or chicken cutlets
- Kosher or fine sea salt and freshly ground pepper
- 4 extra-large eggs
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 2 cups fine dry bread crumbs
- Canola oil, for frying
- Lemon wedges, for serving
1. Pound out the cutlets: Tear off 2 good-size pieces of plastic wrap. Center a cutlet over one of the sheets and top with the other sheet. With a meat mallet or the bottom of a small heavy saucepan, pound the cutlet to an even 1/4-inch thickness (or as close as you can manage). Use good, firm whacks, but try not to tear holes in the cutlet. Put the pounded cutlet on a baking sheet and repeat with the remaining cutlets. Season them well with salt and pepper.
2. Set up a breading station: Beat the eggs with a few drops of water in a wide shallow bowl. Spread the flour and bread crumbs on separate plates. One at a time, dredge each cutlet in the flour to coat both sides and shake off the excess flour. Dip the floured cutlet in the egg until it is coated, and hold it over the bowl for a few seconds to let the excess egg drip back into the bowl. Lay the cutlet flat in the bread crumbs and turn once or twice, patting the crumbs onto the cutlet to help them stick. Shake off the excess crumbs and layout the cutlet on a clean baking sheet (or wire rack; see Tip).
3. Pour about 1/2 inch of canola oil into a large skillet and heat over medium-high heat. The oil should be hot enough to give off a very lively sizzle when an edge of a breaded cutlet is dipped into it, but not smoking. Add as many cutlets as will fit in the pan without overlapping, lower the heat to medium-high, and cook until the undersides are crisp and golden, about 2 minutes. Turn the cutlets over to brown the other sides, 2 to 3 minutes. Drain on paper towels. Fry any remaining cutlets, replacing the oil in the pan and giving it time to reheat as necessary. Serve the cutlets with lemon wedges.
Tip: If you own a wire cooling rack (or two), this is a good place to use it. After the cutlets are breaded, lay them on the rack(s) while the oil is heating. This will firm up the coating and help keep the crumbs in place during frying, and it will also prevent the breading from getting soggy.