Tortas de Milanesa were often the afterschool comida for my sister, Carina, my brother, Antonio, and myself. Milanesa, just like it sounds, comes from the Italian milanese and is identical in the sense that it’s a thinly pounded, breaded, and pan-fried cut of meat. The technique, brought over by European immigrants, was taken and incorporated into one very Mexican dish, the torta. These sandwiches, made with crusty bolillo rolls, can be stuffed with just about anything you can imagine. My mom would put these on the table with pickled jalapeños and canned chipotles in adobo. Sometimes she would make me one for lunch and I’d smash Doritos between the bread and the meat for some extra crunch.
4 (4-ounce) chicken or beef cutlets (each ¼ inch thick)
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 cup all-purpose flour
2 large eggs
1 cup plain dry bread crumbs
Vegetable oil, for frying
4 bolillo rolls, or 1 baguette, cut into 4 pieces
4 iceberg lettuce leaves
8 (¼-inch-thick) tomato slices
12 (¼-inch-thick) avocado slices
12 thin white onion slices
12 pickled jalapeño slices or 4 canned chipotle chiles in adobo sauce
8 lime wedges
- Sprinkle the cutlets all over with salt and pepper. Put the flour on a plate and season with salt and pepper. Lightly beat the eggs in a shallow bowl. Put the bread crumbs on a plate. Dip the cutlets on both sides into the flour, then into the eggs, and finally into the bread crumbs, pressing down on both sides so that the bread crumbs adhere to the meat.
- Pour enough oil into a large skillet to come ¹⁄³ inch up the sides of the pan. Heat to 350°F. Working in two batches, pan-fry the cutlets until golden, about 2 minutes per side. Using a slotted spoon, transfer to paper towels to drain.
- To assemble the sandwiches, halve the rolls horizon-tally. Pull out the soft center of the rolls and discard. Spread each roll evenly with the chipotle mayonnaise. Layer on the cutlets and top with lettuce, tomato, avocado, onion, and pickled jalapeño. Top with remaining halves of the rolls. Arrange the sandwiches on serving plates and garnish with lime wedges.