Beef Milanesa with Peach Salsa Inspired by the Novel 'Betty Boo'

Beef Milanesa with Peach Salsa Inspired by the Novel 'Betty Boo'

Wednesday, 5 July, 2023

Food and drinks are some of the easiest ways — and the most fun— to vicariously experience another culture. When you add a great book to the mix, you've got the makings of a perfect evening. In Food+Fiction, we recommend a delicious read and a related recipe so you can try the taste of different destinations in your own kitchen.

This post is part of our Food+Fiction series.


You might not expect warm-hearted scenes of friends eating together, splashing in a pool, and forming unbreakable bonds of affection in a crime novel, but that’s what you get with the unputdownable Betty Boo.

Welcome to modern Buenos Aires and the posh gated community of La Maravillosa, a place for the rich to live outside the dirty fray of city life — until violence invades their privileged enclave and a trio of intrepid reporters investigates the crime.

Although their queries take our heroes — Jamie, Crime Boy, and Betty Boo — into dark territory, they make time to eat, drink, and be as merry as possible. Perhaps you’d like to do the same and share this easy, delicious milanesa with some of your favorite people.

Milanesa — at its most basic, a meat cutlet that’s been breaded and fried to crispy perfection — is a popular dish in Latin American countries, but almost every cuisine has its own version. In the United States, it’s chicken-fried steak. There’s Austrian Wiener Schnitzel, Italian scaloppine, and Japanese tonkatsu. No matter what name you apply, it’s pretty irresistible.

In Argentina, you might try milanesa napolitana, which clearly highlights the relationship between Italy and Argentina. In this recipe, the cutlet is topped with a slice of ham, tomato sauce, and slabs of mozzarella that are melted under a broiler.

For a portable milanesa, there’s the sánguche de milanesa, a baguette stuffed with milanesa, mayo, tomatoes, onion, and shredded lettuce. You can make it extra luscious with a drizzle of chimichurri sauce.

And if you agree that a fried egg on top of just about anything is a good idea, you might like milanesa a caballo with a sunny-side-up egg on top and french fries on the side.

Our version (gluten-free) is from our cookbook Well Fed Weeknights, and it’s inspired by milanesa de peceto, a recipe made with lean beef that tastes best when it’s cooked quickly. The breading is seasoned with fresh garlic, salt, and pepper — traditionally, it might be accompanied by fresh tomatoes or salad. We put our veggies on top in the form of a peach-and-tomato salsa spiked with bright basil.

You can use fresh peaches in summer if you’re lucky enough to have them, and you can also replace the beef with thin-cut pork or chicken cutlets, if you prefer. Should you want to try any of the other versions, skip the salsa and replace it with marina and mozzarella, or a fried egg.

 white plate with a close up milanesa cutlet on a bed of spinach with peach and tomato salsa on top
Photo courtesy of David Humphreys.

Beef Milanesa with Peach and Tomato Salsa

Serves 2-4. Total time 35 minutes.



  • 1 (14.5-ounce) can sliced peaches, packed in juice
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes
  • 1/4 medium red onion
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil leaves
  • 1/2 jalapeño
  • 1 tablespoon lime juice
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil


  • 1 large egg
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed
  • 1/2 cup potato starch
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 2-3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 4 thin-cut slices beef top round or sirloin (1 1/2 pounds)
  • 1 (5-ounce) package baby spinach


Prep 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 tomatoes in half; place in a large mixing bowl. Finely mince the onion, garlic, basil leaves, and jalapeño; add them to the peaches. Add the lime juice, 1 tablespoon peach juice, and olive oil. Toss gently with a rubber scraper to combine.

Make the beef. In a shallow bowl, beat the egg and crushed garlic; set aside. In a second shallow bowl, mix together the potato starch, salt, and pepper with a fork. Place 2 tablespoons olive 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.


Mondays are the days it takes the longest to get into the Maravillosa Country Club… Gladys Varela knows this all too well, and that’s why she’s swearing to herself as she stands facing the barrier, from which a sign reading ‘Personnel and Suppliers’ hangs, behind another fifteen or twenty people who are waiting, like her, to go in. She curses herself for not having charged up the electronic card that would grant her automatic entry. The problem is that the card expires every two months, and the times at which you can make an appointment to reactive it clash with the hours she works for Señor Chazarreta. And Señor Chazarreta isn’t a very nice man… he’s the reason she hasn’t yet dared to ask if she can leave early or have a break to go to the gatehouse and renew her entry card. Because of that way he looks at her. Or doesn’t look at her, because in actual fact, Señor Chazarreta rarely looks right at her, rarely looks her in the eye. He just generally looks, looks around, looks into the garden or looks at the bare wall. Always with a long, unsmiling face, as though he were cross about something. — Claudia Piñeiro

Betty Boo

by Claudia Piñeiro, Miranda France

Welcome to modern Buenos Aires and the posh gated community of La Maravillosa (aka, ‘The Wonderful). It’s a place for the rich to live outside the dirty fray of city life — until violence invades this privileged enclave. It’s doubly shocking when a housemaid reports to work and finds her employer sitting in his favorite chair, not with his morning coffee, but with a slit throat. The newly deceased was a wealthy, powerful industrialist, so his murder is big news. Not only because of his stature, but because his wife died mysteriously a few years before. Plenty of people believe he murdered her — although it couldn’t be proven. Perhaps this is retribution? The book delves into the who and why of the murder, but rather than following a detective through the evidence, we walk alongside three reporters associated with the El Tribuno newspaper. {more}

This crime novel (410 pages) was published in February of 2016 by Bitter Lemon Press. The book takes you to modern Buenos Aires. Melissa read Betty Boo and loved it; it wouldn't be on our site if she didn't recommend it. is an online bookstore with a mission to financially support independent bookstores and give back to the book community.

Betty Boo


Top image courtesy of Eduardo Sánchez/Unsplash.

Want to keep up with our book-related adventures? Sign up for our newsletter!

keep reading

There are so many reasons to make Argentina your next big trip. Surely you know about the tango and outdoor adventures of Patagonia. But how about gauchos, glaciers, alfajores, and the Train at the End of the World?

sharing is caring!

Can you help us? If you like this article, share it your friends!

our mission

Strong Sense of Place is a website and podcast dedicated to literary travel and books we love. Reading good books increases empathy. Empathy is good for all of us and the amazing world we inhabit.

our patreon

Strong Sense of Place is a listener-supported podcast. If you like the work we do, you can help make it happen by joining our Patreon! That'll unlock bonus content for you, too — including Mel's secret book reviews and Dave's behind-the-scenes notes for the latest Two Truths and a Lie.

get our newsletter

Join our Substack to get our FREE newsletter with podcast updates and behind-the-scenes info join in fun chats about books and travel.

no spoilers. ever.

We'll share enough detail to help you decide if a book is for you, but we'll never ruin plot twists or give away the ending.

super-cool reading fun
reading atlas

This 30-page Reading Atlas takes you around the world with dozens of excellent books and gorgeous travel photos. Get your free copy when you subscribe to our newsletter.

get our newsletter
Sign up for our free Substack!
follow us

Content on this site is ©2024 by Smudge Publishing, unless otherwise noted. Peace be with you, person who reads the small type.