Monday, 27 August 2012

Argentinian Milanesas a Caballo (Beef Milanesas with a Fried Egg)

Milanesas are one of the comfort foods of my husband's childhood. It seems that as he was growing up in Argentina, at every family gathering there would be a pile of hot, crisp milanesas to tuck into with salad and chips. I've made them a few times now, the way that my mother in law taught me and they are really good. We like them with home-made oven chips and a tangy side salad, but you could have them with mashed potato or on their own. Any leftovers are brilliant put to use in a sandwich with a little salad and mayonnaise - you also get that double carb burst of the crisp breadcrumbs and the soft bread.

I'm not sure where the a caballo part comes from with this dish, as a caballo translates as 'on horseback' - but just means that the milanesa is topped with a fried egg. But don't be compelled to add the egg if you don't fancy it - just eat the milanesas as they are, as I often do. Oh and as much as I diligently stir together a quick chimichurri salsa whenever beef is mentioned, you don't need it here. You'll just get soggy breadcrumbs.



The recipe is below, but do take these points into account when making the best milanesas:
  • Use dried, ready-made breadcrumbs: you'll see I've used home-blitzed breadcrumbs in the photos here, but for the best, crunchiest milanesas you need to use that powdery, ready-made stuff in tubs and packets. My mother in law uses this, and when I went all cheffy and tried to use my own, it just didn't have the same crunch, the breadcrumb was too thick and it just wasn't right.
  • Get your steaks nice and thin: If you're not using frying steaks, which are already thinly cut, get yourself a couple of big rib eye or sirloin steaks, lay a piece of cling film over the top and bash them until they're really thin. Your milanesas will cook really quick (just a few minutes on each side).
  • Get the best steaks you can afford: avoid at all costs frying steaks (or other steaks) with thick lines of gristle or fat running through them. As they're breadcrumbed, you can't see what you're eating and end up chewing on a big vein of gristle. Not nice. Go for tender, matured, thin steaks that will cut easily and cook quickly.


Milanesas a Caballo (Breadcrumbed Beef Topped with a Fried Egg).
Serves 4

Ingredients
  • 4 frying steaks (or larger steaks, bashed with a rolling pin - see above)
  • 200g breadcrumbs (preferably ready-made bought ones)
  • 1 fat clove garlic, chopped
  • Pinch of salt
  • Oil for frying
  • 4 eggs

Method
  1. Crack the egg in a bowl and beat well. Add a pinch of salt and the chopped garlic clove and tip the breadcrumbs into a shallow dish.
  2. Heat about 3-4 tablespoons of oil in a large shallow frying pan. Take your thin steaks and dip them once in the egg mixture and then into the breadcrumbs, pressing them down so they stick to the meat. Carefully lower it into the hot pan and let it sizzle. Reduce the heat and cook for about 4 minutes on each side. Do the same for all the steaks.
  3. When the steaks are just cooked, crack 4 eggs into a frying pan with a drizzle of oil. Fry them until just cooked (the yolk should still be runny) and then serve the milanesas with the fried egg on top: a caballo.

  Milanesa

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