The other week, or maybe it was month, Erica and I were sitting around, feeling rather un-inspired. We had spent the better part of the day crafting and clearly left no mental capacity for dinner. We threw a few ideas back and forth but nothing seemed super appealing. Then Erica suggest steak sandwiches, simple right? Behold our ability to turn everything into a production:) It was truly an inspired meal and this week we re-created it, to make sure it can be done again and again.
Start with some good meat! Originally we did this with fillet minion, that gets expensive QUICK, so this time we went the Costco route.
One of the amazing tricks that Erica has taught me for cooking meat, is cooking it in a cast iron skillet. The meat sticks to the cast iron until it ready to be flipped over, its magic. If you like your meat rare to medium rare, just let the meat rest, tented in foil, for at least 10 minutes before cutting. For a medium to well done piece of steak, consider finishing it off in the oven at 400, two minutes on each side. (Thank you Alton Brown.)
For the minds that care to know: meat usually stick to all pans. As it turns out this is because high protein foods, such as meat, can form complex molecular bonds with the metal in the pan. Above a certain temperature the proteins start to denature and these bonds are broken and the meat is no longer stuck to your pan. For a rare to medium cooked steak this moment happens to correspond with a perfect time to flip the steak.
Next, caramelize some onions. The amount of onions, as with all the other ingredients, depend on how many people you are feeding and if they are Will. We were cooking for eight.
Melt some butter or oil in a cast iron skillet, add sliced (half moons) onions and sprinkle them with salt. Cook on a low heat. I like to add a little bit of cayenne pepper towards the end of cooking, it adds a nice smoky flavor. Caramelization can take up to 30 minutes. You have to stir and be patient.
For a little more detail check out Tiger and Strawberrie’s post on How to Caramelize Onions.
Roast some bell peppers. You can either do this on the stove if you have a gas stove or in the oven. On the stove you want to char the peppers on all sides, stick them in a paper bag, seal the bag, and let the peppers cool. Doing this lets the peppers steam, which helps the skin detach from them pepper and makes them easier to peel. If you put the bell peppers in the oven, I would put them on the top rack and broil them till charred, cover the pan with tinfoil, let it cool, then peel. We used baby bell peppers this time, so skin removal was not necessary, hence no charring. Baby bells are great, they are very sweet and conveniently sandwich sized.
Slice mushrooms and saute.
We used focaccia bread for the sandwiches. We used a different bread the first time, Will complained that it was to crusty and hurt his mouth. This time he said that maybe a crusty bread would be better. I reminded him that, this was the very thing he complained about last time. He looked confused…
Assemble the sandwich.
Spread some goat cheese on the bread. Toasting the bread with some garlic and butter is also be delicious. You still add the goat cheese or a different cheese or both if you are Will.
In a small pot simmer some balsamic vinegar until it thickens.
Slice the meat,arrange several pieces on the sliced focassia and drizzle with the balsamic reduction.
Layer mushrooms, peppers and caramelized onions.
Top with other focaccia half and voila.
Serve right away or put all the ingredients into separate containers and assemble at a later time.