I’m Melissa Joulwan, but you can call me Mel. I have a killer recipe for you today. But first, I’ll tell you a little about myself. I’m the author of the paleo cookbooks Well Fed, Well Fed 2, and the soon-to-be-released Well Fed Weeknights: Complete Paleo Meals in 45 Minutes or Less (pre-order now!). I also write a blog called MelJoulwan.com (formerly The Clothes Make The Girl), where I write about my triumphs and failures in the kitchen, in the gym, and in life. I’m also a former rollergirl known as Melicious, but I’ve mostly stopped knocking people down for fun. Mostly.
After a lifetime of yo-yo dieting and treating food as the enemy, I found Paleo in 2009, and I’ve been happily eating this way ever since. That year, I also had a thyroidectomy—which was less fun than you might imagine. In the aftermath of the surgery and recovery, I became really interested in how what I eat affects my hormones, body composition, mood, and motivation. These days, my workouts include yoga and meditation, as well as lifting heavy things and high-intensity intervals.
In my previous cookbooks I made a strong argument for batch cooking—a.k.a. a Weekly Cookup—so your fridge would be stocked with food all week. I still think that’s a great idea, but sometimes real life means we don’t have a few hours to spend doing prep in the kitchen. With Well Fed Weeknights, I gave myself a challenge: Go to the grocery store, buy the ingredients for a meal, then come home and cook it in under 45 minutes. I completed that exercise about 175 times, and the result is my new cookbook. When he reviewed an advance copy of my new book, Mark was kind enough to say, “Mel is one of my favorite authors/chefs in any food genre. She never ceases to impress with her creativity and passion, and Well Fed Weeknights is no exception. Be prepared to get your Paleo on every night of the week!”
The recipe I’m sharing with you today is super-fast and crazy-delicious. Milanesa is a popular dish in Latin American countries, but just about every cuisine has its own version of breaded meat cutlets fried to crisp perfection. In the United States, we’ve got chicken-fried steak, and there’s Austrian Wiener Schnitzel, Italian scaloppine, and Japanese tonkatsu. No matter what name you apply, it’s irresistible. This version uses a small amount of paleo-friendly starch and a pan sauté to create a crisp crust.
The bold, colorful peach salsa on top? That’s just bonus awesome.
Time in the Kitchen: 30-35 minutes
Make the salsa. Drain the peaches over a bowl to catch the juice and set the juice aside. Cut the peaches into 1/2-inch dice and slice the cherry tomatoes in half; place in a large mixing bowl. Finely mince the onion, garlic, mint leaves, and jalapeño; add them to the peaches. Add the lime juice, 1 tablespoon peach juice, and avocado oil. Toss gently with a rubber scraper to combine.
Make the beef. In a shallow bowl, beat the egg; set aside. In a second shallow bowl, mix together the tapioca starch, salt, and pepper with a fork. Place 1 tablespoon avocado oil in a large, nonstick skillet and heat it over medium-high heat, 2 minutes. While the oil heats, dip the beef slices in the egg, one at a time, then dredge each in the tapioca. Cook the beef on both sides, about 3 minutes per side, until well browned and sizzling.
To serve, divide the baby spinach leaves among individual plates, top with the hot beef milanesa, and spoon peach salsa over the top.
Use fresh peaches in summer, if you’re lucky enough to have them. You can also replace the beef with thin-cut pork or chicken cutlets. Make it Italian with marinara sauce instead of peaches, or top it with a fried egg for Argentinian flair.