{ Chicken Milanesa }

Based on my observations here in Buenos Aires, there are five staple dishes in the Argentine diet: steak, pizza, pasta, empanadas, and milanesas (they will also consume dulce de leche in any, and every, form possible!). But milanesas are just about as popular in Argentina as hamburgers are in America. Likewise, they are decorated with many different toppings and condiments and served in numerous forms. Originally an Italian creation, Milanesa is a thin slice of meat—veal, chicken, or beef—that is breaded and fried to a golden perfection. Argentines, however, have taken their creative liberties with this simple dish and used it as a blank canvas to invent unfathomable and uncountable flavor combinations. There are even entire restaurants dedicated to the art of milanesas (i.e. Club de Milanesa). Toppings range from four cheeses, to sundried tomatoes and basil, to fried eggs and pancetta. Here is a look to get you inspired:

This is my simple recipe for chicken milanesa, although you can do it with any meat and top it with any ingredients that you like! I prefer mine simple like the Italians, with a little bit of fresh squeezed lemon juice and a nice side salad.

{ My Tips for Cooking the Milanesa }

  • Really pound out the chicken so that it is thin and tender.
  • Use panko breadcrumbs if you can, they seem to brown nicer.
  • Bread the chicken one-hour before frying it, allowing it to chill in the refrigerator in the meantime. I find that this helps the breading adhere to the meat, so it doesn’t fall apart when you are turning it.
  • Make sure the oil is hot enough before you start to fry. I test the temperature of my oil by throwing in bits of breadcrumbs, and checking that they sizzle upon submersion. Also, make sure that the oil is not too hot or the breading will burn and the meat won’t cook. You should heat the oil over a medium-high flame, not high.
  • When you remove the fried chicken from the oil, place it on a bed of lettuce leaves, which absorb the oil better than paper towels and brown paper bags!

 { Ingredients }

  • 1 cup all-pupose flour
  • 2 eggs, beaten with a splash of milk
  • 1 ½ cups panko breadcrumbs
  • ½ cup freshly grated parmigiano reggiano cheese
  • 1 ½ pounds chicken breast, pounded to ¼” thickness
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Vegetable oil for frying (Extra Virgin Olive Oil, if it’s in your budget!)

 { To Make the Milanesa }

Set up three bowls; one with the flour, one with the beaten eggs, and one with the breadcrumbs combined with the parmigiano reggiano cheese. Season the chicken breasts with a little kosher salt and black pepper and then take each piece of chicken through a standard breading procedure: dredge in the flour (shaking off the excess), then through the egg wash, and then through the breadcrumbs.

Make sure that the chicken is well breaded!! Lay the breaded chicken on a baking sheet and allow to sit in the refrigerator for a hour or so.

Pour the oil into a large sautee pan until it reaches a thickness of about half an inch (remember, you want it to cover the chicken). Then heat the oil over a medium-high flame. Once the oil is hot, cook the chicken in batches for 4 to 5 minutes on each side, or until golden brown and crispy!

When the chicken is removed from the pan, lay it on a bed of lettuce leaves to absorb the oil and sprinkle with a bit of kosher salt.

Serve with fresh lemon wedges or go the Argentina route and top it with whatever your heart desires!

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