What Is Steak Milanesa And How Is It Different From Chicken Fried Steak?
When it comes to popular meat-based dishes, steak and chicken are often top contenders. Both offer their unique flavors and textures, making them beloved by many. However, two dishes that might sound similar but are distinct in taste and preparation are steak milanesa and chicken fried steak. These dishes have their roots in different culinary traditions and showcase different cuts of meat. Let’s dive into the world of steak milanesa and chicken fried steak to understand their differences and appreciate the distinct culinary delights they offer.
Steak Milanesa: A Taste of Argentina
Steak milanesa, also known as milanesa de carne, is a classic dish hailing from Argentina. It takes its name from Milan, Italy, as it is believed to have been brought to Argentina by Italian immigrants. The star ingredient of this dish is a thin, breaded steak cutlet.
The traditional way to make steak milanesa involves pounding a piece of beef, typically from the hindquarter, to create a thin, tender cut. It is then coated in breadcrumbs and fried until golden brown. The result is a juicy steak with a crispy, flavorful crust, certain to tantalize your taste buds.
One of the key elements that sets steak milanesa apart is the breading. The breadcrumbs used are often mixed with grated Parmesan cheese, herbs, garlic, or other seasonings, adding extra depth of flavor. The dish is typically served with a squeeze of lemon juice, which provides a refreshing contrast to the rich meatiness.
Chicken Fried Steak: A Southern Delight
Chicken fried steak, on the other hand, is a staple of Southern cuisine in the United States. As the name suggests, the star of this dish is a deep-fried piece of steak coated in a seasoned batter or breading, mirroring the preparation of fried chicken.
Unlike steak milanesa, chicken fried steak traditionally uses a beef cube steak, typically derived from the round or chuck of the cow. This cut is already tenderized, making it perfect for breading and frying. The steak is usually dipped in a batter made of flour, buttermilk, eggs, and spices or coated with a seasoned flour mixture before being fried until crispy and golden.
The flavors of chicken fried steak are often bolder and spicier than steak milanesa, thanks to the use of a flavorful batter or seasoned flour coating. It is commonly served with a rich gravy made from the pan drippings, complementing the crispy exterior and adding an indulgent touch to the dish.
Comparing the Differences
While both steak milanesa and chicken fried steak involve breading and frying meat, there are several notable differences between the two dishes:
Steak milanesa utilizes a thin cut of beef, while chicken fried steak uses a beef cube steak. This distinction affects the overall texture and tenderness of the meat.
The breading in steak milanesa often incorporates additional flavors such as Parmesan cheese, garlic, or herbs. Chicken fried steak’s breading is typically a seasoned flour mixture or batter, adding a distinct flavor profile.
When served, steak milanesa is often presented as a standalone dish, allowing the breaded steak cutlet to take center stage. Chicken fried steak is frequently served smothered in a rich pan gravy, enhancing its indulgent qualities.
4. Culinary Origins:
Steak milanesa originated in Argentina, influenced by Italian culinary traditions. On the other hand, chicken fried steak has its roots in Southern cuisine in the United States.
5. Flavor Profiles:
Steak milanesa boasts a lighter and more delicate flavor, with the focus on the juicy, tender beef and complemented by the crispy breading. Chicken fried steak offers a heartier flavor, with a spicy and savory kick complemented by the rich gravy.
6. Served With:
While both dishes might be accompanied by sides like fries or mashed potatoes, steak milanesa is often served with a squeeze of lemon juice, emphasizing its tanginess. Chicken fried steak is typically served with the aforementioned gravy, adding an unctuous layer.
Steak milanesa and chicken fried steak may appear similar on the surface, but they represent two distinct culinary traditions and offer unique taste experiences. Steak milanesa celebrates the delicate flavors of Argentina, with its thin, breaded beef cutlet and infusion of Parmesan and herbs. Chicken fried steak, a champion of Southern cuisine, showcases a beef cube steak coated in a seasoned batter or flour mixture, accompanied by a rich pan gravy that adds richness and depth. So, whether you’re in the mood for a taste of Argentina or a comforting Southern delight, these dishes are sure to satisfy your craving for breaded and fried meat.