I bet you guys thought this blog was going to turn out to be all pork, all the time for awhile, didn’t you?
Well, the truth is, I’m expecting the meat in the freezer (I’ve got more than pork in there) to last until we get back from the wedding & honeymoon, with minimal supplementation (mostly from my meat guy at Pilsen Community Market, some from the fish counter at Whole Foods). Some of that will be because we’ll eat out and I hope a lot is because we manage to eat several vegetarian meals.
This sandwich is the result of wanting to try the beef my PCM meat guy sells. He doesn’t sell much else, and as I want to be sure to do much of my shopping from the market, I imagine he’ll see some money from me from time to time. This was our first purchase – an 8 oz thin ribeye steak.
Originally, we’d simply intended to devour it as a steak, with maybe some “typical” steak sides, like mashed potatoes. However, something interfered with our plans (I no longer recall what), and suddenly it was Tuesday morning, Bill was leaving Tuesday evening, and we hadn’t had the steak.
I told him to come home for lunch, and I’d have something figured out. This is what I came up with.
1 thin 8 oz ribeye steak
~ 1 c sliced spring onions, including the greens up to the leaves. I used purple, but that’s what I had on hand.
~ 4 oz sliced mushrooms
1 oz brandy
~ 1/2 tbsp olive oil
Bread for sandwiches
Whatever you like to spread on sandwiches
Heat your pan up pretty darn hot. I had mine on high heat and let it warm up for a minute or two, I’d say. Basically, you want to make sure the meat sizzles when it hits the dry pan. Once it’s plenty warm, toss that steak in and sear it up!
The nice thing about this is that the steak sticks like hell at first, but over time it will release from the pan easily. At that point, you know you have a great sear and are ready to flip the steak and start the searing process over. For rare meat, as soon as the steak releases on a side, either flip or pull it off.
Once the steak is nicely seared, pull it off the heat and refrigerate it, but don’t clean the pan.
At this point, heat the olive oil in the pan until it’s nice and hot, then toss in the mushrooms. Cook those suckers until they’ve given off a decent amount of moisture, then add the onions1. Cook until the mushrooms have given off all their moisture & the onions are considering becoming translucent.
Then cautiously dump in your brandy. If it catches fire, smother it. If it doesn’t, quickly toss around your veggies until they are nicely coated in the quickly evaporating brandy. Pull them off the heat, snitch a mushroom, then put them in the fridge with the steak.
Whenever it is you’re ready for lunch, pull everything out. Slice the ribeye into thin strips. Probably against the grain, but I don’t actually pay attention when I go slicing. Smear your bread with whatever spreads you chose, and then pile it up with half of the ribeye slices & half the mushroom mixture. Let your friend/spouse/roommate assemble their own sandwich, or set it back for a later sandwich.
Cooking and Consumption Notes
I promise that with a sufficiently hot pan, you do not need any added fat to cook the steak. Seriously, don’t add any. You’ll regret it, because the steak won’t briefly stick, and you won’t get any lovely fond.
Don’t do it.
Everything else is pretty straightforward. Cook, cook, assemble. The only catch is that, yes, the brandy can catch fire2. I’m pretty bad at remembering that booze can catch fire, so don’t be like me. Have something on hand to smother any fire that starts. The pot lid works very well for this.
I like my beef super rare. I don’t actually know how to make this less rare for sure. I’d imagine you could leave it on for a bit longer per side.
This really was a throw together lunch. It was just going to be steak sandwiches, but I didn’t want my tendency toward boring sandwiches3 to rule. That said, I didn’t want a lot of work, as I hate making a lot of dishes or work for lunches.
So, I concluded I’d saute up some mushrooms & onions to go on the sandwiches. It seemed healthful & tasty, with some added fun textures, without just being lettuce. This, however, was decided when I saw the fond on the pan. That’s how poorly planned this lunch was, originally.
As for sandwich spreads – well, I’m still working that out. Expect another post, kind of an update, with more tips on that. I used butter (my go-to spread) and Bill used dijon mustard and siracha garlic (his go-to spreads). Neither of us thought our spread was a good choice, though I think Bill was on the right track. My meat guy at PCM, after hearing about this sandwich, would have chosen just the mustard of Bill’s sandwich. I, personally, will try that next.
You don’t have to cool everything, if you want warm & juicy steak sandwiches. I just really wanted a nice cold sandwich that day. Warm & juicy would be delicious, but this is a nice picnic sandwich. Or a good sandwich to serve someone who just walked 20 minutes through the heat & humidity to have lunch with you.
1 I’m pretty sure this is backwards from how most recipes will direct you to cook this sort of thing. However, I like my mushrooms pretty well cooked down, and I didn’t want caramelized onions. This order worked out great for me.
2 It didn’t catch fire. This time. Last time I had to brandy glaze some mushrooms, there was definitely a “fwoosh!” And possibly that one time for PW’s recipe that involved reducing whiskey. Possibly there was some fire there too.
Don’t be like me.
3 It’s true. If left to my own devices & not feeding someone else, this probably would just have been meat, butter & bread.