You see, one of the less-discussed factors in my cooking life on this site is the one I most like to keep a secret: I am incredibly picky. The list of foods I don’t want to eat is miles long. People like me have to learn to cook, it’s the only thing saving us from a diet of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. And well, barely that recently, while we’re being honest and stuff.
Among the items on the ridiculously long list of things I have no desire to eat is steak. You see what I mean? I can see your face. You’re outraged. You’re going to fill my comment section with recipes and links to steakhouses and swear that if I’d only eaten steak there, I would see the greatness that is steak. But people, I want to tell you something: I’ve been to just about every good steakhouse in New York City (don’t laugh — I like the sides, and the company of red meat-eaters) and none of them has turned my disinterest in broiled slabs of beef on its head.
Which is why it shocked nobody more than me — well, that’s not true, Alex was downright floored — that when I spied Ina Garten making, of all things, steak sandwiches on an old Barefoot Contessa episode a few weeks ago, I instantaneously knew that I had to make steak sandwiches for dinner that very night. It looked so freaking good. Perhaps my insides were crying out for iron? Maybe Alex’s dreams that I would one day embrace the greatness that is steak were finally due to come true? Nah, it just looked that good. Oh, and it didn’t taste half-bad either. Dare I make a habit of this?
Deb went on vacation and all I got were these lousy steak sandwiches! Wondering why your comments aren’t being responded to at the speed that you’ve come to expect? It’s true, we’ve flown the coop and we’ll be back at the end of the week. But come on, we left you steak sandwiches — you shouldn’t have to miss us at all.
Adapted from Ina Garten
Makes 2 very big sandwiches
1 (12-ounce) 1-inch thick New York strip boneless beef top loin steak
Freshly ground black pepper
2 yellow onions, sliced in rings
1/2 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
Mustard Mayo, recipe follows
2 mini focaccia buns, sliced in 1/2 (we used a small ciabatta)
1/2 cup baby arugula
Season the steak liberally with salt and pepper on both sides. Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a medium saute pan over high heat until it’s almost smoking, then sear the steak on each side for 1 minute. Reduce the heat to low and cook the steak for about 7 to 10 minutes, turning once, until very rare in the middle. Remove to a plate, cover tightly with aluminum foil, and allow to sit for 10 minutes. Slice the steak into strips.
Using the same saute pan, heat 1 1/2 tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion and thyme and saute for 10 minutes, until the onions are brown and caramelized, stirring occasionally.
To assemble the sandwiches, spread a tablespoon of Mustard Mayo on the bottom half of each bun. Place a layer the steak strips on top of the mayo, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and top with the caramelized onion rings. Place the baby arugula on top of the onion rings, and cover the sandwiches with the top half of the buns.
This is much different from the original — a lot less mayo, more mustard, more present flavor, we thought.
1/3 cup good mayonnaise
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon whole-grain mustard
2 tablespoons sour cream
1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
Whisk the ingredients together in a small bowl. Serve at room temperature.