Beef Milanesa Torta is one of those special meals that my mom would only prepare on occasion. If feeding a small family, one pound of milanesa goes a long way, but my parents had eight kids. So, you could imagine how special this beef milanesa meal was for my family. Most times, it was prepared with a simple coating of cracker meal and thinly sliced beef. I remember it was my job to crush the saltine crackers that were in a plastic bag using a rolling pin. Oh, boy, what a mess I would make!
The big advantage about living in a city with a big Hispanic community, is that you could go to your local market and purchase seasoned cracker meal specifically made for a milanesa. And if you were really in a hurry, you could pick up already prepared milanesa at the carnicería (butcher shop). All you had to do is go home and finish cooking it. No such luck for me here, but I am kind of glad that I learned to prepare it the way I enjoyed it as a kid.
Add the crackers to the food processor, along with the spices listed. Pulse, then process on high until you get a fine cracker meal. Transfer to a shallow dish, set aside.
Season the beef lightly with salt and pepper and transfer to a plate until ready to use. In another shallow dish, lightly beat the eggs. Prep your vegetables, cover until ready to use.
Preheat 1/2 cup of oil to medium heat for 5 minutes. Dip the beef into the egg to cover, then coat with cracker meal using hands to gently press onto beef.
Once oil is hot, cook the milanesa for about 3 minutes per side or until golden brown. Try not to move it too much or the breading may come off. Transfer to a plate and cover loosely with foil paper to keep warm. When you are frying the last piece, heat the refried beans until warm.
Slice the milanesa in half so you have 6 equal pieces. As for the roll, spread with refried beans, lettuce, tomato, avocado, beef milanesa, onions and salsa. Serve with crispy potato wedges.
To quick-pickle the red onions, squeeze the juice of 1 lemon over the onions. Add 2 tablespoons of olive oil and season with salt and pepper to taste. Do this first thing so the onions have time to pickle while you cook. If you don’t eat beef, this recipe can also be prepared with chicken.