Bistec Empanizado (Breaded Steak)
(recipe, Eduardo Machado & Michael Domitrovich)
It took my mother years to find palomilla steaks in the U.S., but today they're available in the butcher section of larger grocery stores, especially in cities with Hispanic communities. Three pieces of palomilla steak should weigh between 1 and 1 1/2 pounds. If you can't find thinly sliced steak, just buy a top sirloin London broil, cut it in half lengthwise, then cut each half crosswise into three equal pieces. You will have to pound the meat a little more, but don't worry, you'll get there.
- 1 to 1½ lb. palomilla steak (thinly sliced top sirloin), about 3 big pieces
- 2 garlic cloves, peeled and finely chopped
- 2 Tbsp. lime juice
- 1 Tbsp. salt
- 1½ tsp. ground black pepper
- 1½ cups finely ground galleta (Cuban cracker) crumbs (see Note)
- 3 large eggs
- ½ cup vegetable oil
- 1 lime, cut into 6 wedges, for garnish
- Cut the steak so that you have 6 equal pieces. If necessary, pound each steak between 2 pieces of plastic wrap using a meat tenderizer, until they are between ¼ and ⅛ inch thick. Transfer to a bowl big enough to hold all 6 steaks.
- Combine the garlic, lime juice, 1 teaspoon of the salt, and ½ teaspoon of the black pepper. Pour the marinade over the steaks and toss so they are coated evenly. Cover with plastic wrap and marinate in the refrigerator for 1 hour.
- Place the galleta crumbs in a pie plate or dish with raised edges and season with 1 teaspoon of the remaining salt and ½ teaspoon of the remaining black pepper. Mix with a fork. Crack the eggs into a separate pie plate or dish with raised edges and season with the remaining 1 teaspoon salt and ½ teaspoon black pepper. Mix with a fork until well blended. Remove a steak from the marinade and dip both sides in the galleta crumbs, shaking off any excess. Dip both sides of the steak in egg, then again in galletas. Transfer to a plate until ready to fry. Repeat with the remaining steaks.
- Heat ¼ cup of the vegetable oil in a 12-inch skillet with raised edges over medium-high heat until shimmering and very hot. Fry 3 of the steaks in the hot oil until golden brown, 2 minutes per side. Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate when cooked. Add the remaining ¼ cup vegetable oil to the pan and let it return to frying temperature. Fry the remaining 3 steaks and transfer to a paper towel-lined plate when cooked. Garnish each steak with a lime wedge and serve immediately with rice, beans, and fried plantains.
If you can't find galleta crumbs, you can substitute regular cracker crumbs, or you can make your own: For 1 1/2 cups galleta crumbs, pulse 15 or so large galletas (more if using small galletas) in the bowl of a food processor until they make a fine meal. If you don't have a food processor, just put the galletas in a big zip-top bag and squeeze all the air out before you seal it. Crush the galletas using a rolling pin, breaking up any big pieces and rolling over the smaller ones until they make a fine meal.