Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Milanesas Napolitanas and a Fernet Cocktail

Remember when I made grillades and grits, I mentioned that I had a lot of beef round steaks left?  And I also mentioned that the only things I know how to cook with beef round steaks are milanesas and chicken fried steak?  Here are the milanesas.

I used to date an Argentine.  He first made milanesas for me when we lived in DC, and I fell in love.  I had eaten chicken fried steak before, but milanesas feel lighter than chicken fried steak.  I don't know why, but they do.

Then when I lived in Buenos Aires, I ate them on a regular basis.  The restaurants serve HUGE slabs of milanesas.  I capitalize huge because they were seriously huge, like 12 inches across.  It's the type of thing you split between two people.  And there are a million different types of milanesas.  They're not always beef, and they can be topped with all sorts of things.

They are best served, and traditionally served, with french fries, but I didn't feel up for frying both beef and potatoes on the same night, so instead, in an attempt to make the meal more complete, I made milanesas napolitanas: milanesa topped with ham, cheese, and marinara.

About 3 lbs beef round steak, or any thin cut beef
3 eggs
About 2 cups plain bread crumbs
2 large cloves garlic, minced
Dried thyme
Vegetable oil (I used peanut, not a vegetable)

Deli ham
Cheese (Port Salut or muenster is best.  I used muenster.)
Marinara sauce

1.  Tenderize the steaks by pounding them with a meat mallet.  I used a hammer again because I don't have a meat mallet.

2.  Lightly beat the eggs with a fork and add salt, garlic, and thyme. Mix.

3.  Pass the meat through the egg mixture, and then through the bread crumbs, coating well.  A note here, I have no idea the quantity of bread crumbs I used.  I had the canister next to where I was breading the steaks, and when I needed more, I added more.  That said, I think 2 cups is a decent guess.

4.  Fry in oil until done, usually a couple of minutes on each side.

5.  Place on a towel and let the oil drain.

6.  Set the oven to broil and let preheat a little (I should have put this step sooner in the process, but I forgot and I don't want to renumber, and besides, when you broil you don't really need to let the oven preheat that much).

7.  Place the number of milanesas you want to eat on a cookie sheet or broiler pan.  Put a slice (or two) of ham on the milanesa and a slice (or two) of cheese on top of that.  Make sure some of the milanesa still shows so that your presentation will be pretty.

8.  Broil the milanesas until the cheese is bubbling and browning.

9.  Place on a plate and top with a spoonful or two of marinara.

10.  Eat.

To accompany my meal, I made a Fernet cocktail.  Fernet is a very argentine thing to drink, though it got really popular in the states, at least in San Francisco.  Last winter when I was visiting SF, my brother-in-law made me take a shot of Fernet.  I was disgusted.  Fernet is so not something you shoot.  But, to my point, it is very argentine so I thought it would be a good thing to go along with my milanesas.

2 parts gin
1 part fernet
1 part vermouth

Combine in a cocktail shaker with ice, shake, and strain into a martini glass.  It should be garnished with a twist of orange, but I didn't have any oranges.

I fried up quite a bit of meat making this meal.  I don't think it's worth frying one portion of anything.  And, something I should have mentioned earlier, milanesas save really well.  You can throw them in the freezer, and then put them straight in the oven from the freezer, and they'll taste pretty damn good.

I didn't freeze any, as that would defeat the purpose of clearing out my freezer, but I did eat them throughout the weekend.  One really good way of eating them is in a sandwich, like this.

That is one huge sandwich cut into three pieces.  You heard me; it is NOT three sandwiches, damn it.

Bon appetit.


  1. You are 100000% correct. Fernet is not made to be shot, because it will make you want to shoot yourself in the face because it is basically like absinthe mixed with fennel seeds. However, fried beef, topped with ham, marinara, and cheese? That, my friend I can completely get behind. Good call.




  2. I have never heard of this Fernet before. But if you can mix it with gin, I'm all over it!

    As usual, you made me laugh (and drool a little). I am going to pick out some of my favorite bits:

    "(I used peanut, not a vegetable)"

    "(or two)...(or two)"

    "Make sure some of the milanesa still shows so that your presentation will be pretty."

    "You heard me; it is NOT three sandwiches, damn it."

  3. Angie - I actually really like Fernet, but it's meant to be sipped. What's up with San Franciscans wanting to shoot it? It makes no sense!

    S - You can mix ANYTHING with gin. Fernet is a super bitter liquor. I have a feeling you won't be a huge fan of it. And I am happy that I made you laugh. I make myself laugh really hard, but I think that I think I am way funnier than other people think I am. That was a terrible sentence.