THE CACHOPO, A POPULAR MEAL IN ASTURIAS
The Cachopo is basically ham and cheese placed between two thin beef fillets.
Since this such an easy and popular meal in Asturias, it has many different variations; some restaurants even specialize in serving up different varieties.
There are multiple variables of this dish including fish cachopos, chicken or pork cachopos stuffed with seafood, meat, mushrooms, peppers, cheese, asparagus, etc. In recent years, it is typical to find restaurants in guidebooks that serve cachopos like La Guía del Cachopo.
This absolute carnivorous recipe combines three kinds of delicious meats with a heart of melted cheeses and a thick breaded cover. It is capable to calm even the hungriest of appetites (you can view it as a rude sibling of the cordon bleu). It is original from Asturias for those of you that only know Madrid, Barcelona or Andalucia.
Like any traditional meal, it has hundred of variations depending of the different cuts of veal/beef available, the kind of cheese and ingredients inside, or any other addition.
- Veal/beef steaks (a pair of similar size, shape and thickness for each cachopo) different cuts can be used as long as they are big enough to accommodate the filling between them, easy to work with, and not too thick (also try to go for quality and tenderness): escalope or thin rump steaks are usually my first choices.
- Two kinds of sliced Cheese.
- Thin sliced spanish ham.
- Eggs (1 for each cachopo if they are big, or 1 for two if they are medium/small)
- Spanish roasted red peppers and/or green fried peppers (not the bell kind)
- Olive oil, Black pepper, Garlic, Parsley, Salt
- Prepare the steaks: place them in a cutting table and hit them with a meat mallet to tenderize and spread them, after that season the meat with salt and pepper
- Put on one of your steaks a slice of cheese, a slice of Serrano ham, a slice of cheese, leaving space in the borders of the meat, cover it with the other steak and press the borders in order to keep them together and preserve the filling.
- Add the grounded garlic and parsley to the breadcrumbs and beat the eggs.
- Bread each cachopo, first breadcrumbs, then eggs and finally breadcrumbs again, pay special attention to the borders to seal the fillings inside
- Fry the cachopos (use generous amounts of oil). Ideally oil should be hot, but not too hot (we don’t want to burn the bread, so 4 in a scale of 6 is nice), 3-4 minutes each side (this should give us a golden color outside, cooked but tender beef, delicious melty cheese, and warm and juicy hams).
- Traditionally served with french fries and peppers (roasted red, fried green), some version even put a red pepper in the filling with the cheese and ham, up to you.
The final result: a golden layer of bread with juicy meat beneath, and a heart of delicious melted mix of cheeses with the saltines and the flavors of the hams.
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