Milanesa is an old and well traveled dish. The origins are from Milan, but the dish is seen all over Europe and is well immersed into South American cuisine. It refers to a piece of meat prepared by breading and then frying. Someone was raving about a version of this sandwich they had from a restaurant and based on their rudimentary description I decided to try my hand at making a representation of it.
I wanted a soft flavourful bread and I was lucky enough to still have a loaf of focaccia left from the grilled chicken and vegetables sandwich. I found a recipe for chicken milanesa in my Evernote archives and then I decided that feta would be a good representation of the cheese they used. None of the parts of this sandwich are very glamorous, but everything combines to make a sandwich that is worth blogging about.
Start stretching your jaw because you will need a larger mouth in order to eat this sandwich. It measured about four inches in height and even with a lot of squishing it didn’t get much under three inches. It’s pretty fun to eat and each bite is a challenge as you try and find an angle of attack. The breading and frying can be a little intimidating for some but it’s really not too bad and is relatively quick.
This recipe is the last of the sandwich series and what a fun series of recipes it was. The simplicity and freshness of sandwiches is almost incomparable. Lay on top of that all the great memories you have from childhood of enjoying sandwiches with friends and family. I smile thinking about these sandwiches and how much I enjoyed making them, eating them, and all of the great memories they awakened within me. Please make a few of them and let me know what you think and what your favorite sandwich memories are.
Chicken Milanesa Torta – Recipe
Recipe based on Cook’s Illustrated
4 small boneless skinless chicken breasts, tenderloins removed
1/2 cup kosher or 1/4 cup table salt
1/2 cup sugar
1 1/4 cups Panko bread crumbs – these give the chicken a super crisp crust, but regular bread crumbs work too
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, finely grated
Ground black pepper
3/4 cup flour
2 large eggs
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
3/4 cup vegetable oil, for frying
- Pound the chicken breasts to 1/2 inch thick.
- Dissolve the salt and sugar in 1 quart of cold water in a bowl or large ziploc bag. Add cutlets and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
- Remove chicken from the water and dry on a triple layer of paper towel, pressing another three layers on top to absorb moisture. Sprinkle dried cutlets with pepper on both sides.
- Combine the Panko and Parmesan on a plate. Spread the flour on another plate. Whisk the eggs and oil and place in a third dish.
- Dredge the cutlets one at a time in the flour, shaking them off to remove excess. Dip them in the eggs second, allowing extra to drip off and keeping only a thin coating. Finally press them into the bread crumbs to form an even and cohesive layer. Place the cutlets onto a wire rack when finished.
- Heat half of the oil (6 tbsp) in a heavy 10-inch skillet over medium-high heat for about 2 minutes. The oil should be shimmering but not smoking. Place two cutlets into the pan, laying them down away from you so that if you splash oil it goes toward the stove, not you. Fry for about 2 1/2 minutes until they are deep golden pressing down on the cutlets with a spatula to ensure even browning. Use tongs to flip the cutlets and fry on the other side for another 2 1/2 minutes. Remove the cutlets to a paper towel lined plate.
- Discard the oil and carefully wipe out the pan with a wad of paper towel. Use the remaining oil to fry the second batch of chicken. I recommend transferring the chicken to a clean wire rack to finish cooling as this will keep the coating crisp. The chicken can be rewarmed the next day using a toaster oven and will crisp up the coating nicely.
The Chicken Milanesa Torta (Sandwich)
Soft supple bread such as focaccia
Head lettuce, shredded
Feta, packed in brine
Onion, thinly sliced
- Slice open the bread and spread a good coating of sour cream on the top half.
- Slice the avocado in half lengthwise and remove the pit. Using a dull knive, slice up the flesh (without piercing the skin) and then use a spoon to scoop it out.
- Layer the chicken, tomato slices, an inch of lettuce, avocado, onion, and feta onto the bottom half. Put the top half on and give the sandwich a good squish – it will be quite tall if you put enough of everything in there.
- Do jaw stretches.
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