You know that saying, "never trust a skinny cook"? In my world you can trust Ina, Nigella and with a bit of moderation even Paula. You can even trust me when I say that this is meat at its finest. I saw this on Smitten Kitchen a few months ago and realized I had bookmarked the recipe before when I saw Ina prepare it on her show, yet never got around to it. Wow, I can't believe it took me this long.
As a kid and a picky eater at that, eating steak was a logistical nightmare. Most restaurants wanted to serve it medium and filled with gristle. There's nothing worse than realizing you're chewing a hunk of fat and trying to figure out what's the best way to ditch it in your cloth napkin. As an adult I've grown to love steak especially since I can prepare it to my liking with marbling but trimmed well and with the aide of a good meat thermometer well done but not dry. Which is why I bumped what I was making on Friday night to make this sandwich.
I did substitute a bit. I used hoagie rolls that I purchased for another recipe since I didn't have time to make focaccia. London broil which was on sale and looked beautiful instead of NY strip. Finally bibb lettuce instead of arugula. I'm a lover of bitter, funky, curly and colorful greens but alas the other inhabitants of this house are not. In my efforts to compromise I bend on the funky lettuce for about half of the meals.
But what I will not compromise is the mayo. I grew up on Hellman's which I will admit is pretty good but living in the south you notice when there is a huge setup of yellow lidded jars holding their own right next to the Kraft and Hellman's. I asked Mr. Maricucu, the southerner, if he'd tried it and gasp! he had not. I had to take one for the team and taste it myself. Needless to say we love it, won't eat anything else and if we ever move away from the south, will be those two old coots ranting on the porch rockers about the lack of good mayo in not-the-south.
adapted from Ina Garten
2.5lbs london broil - I know, it sounds like a lot but I had plans for the leftovers. Yup that's my story and I'm sticking to it.
kosher salt and pepper to taste
1 large onion, sliced - I used red and white because I had to use it up.
2-3 sprigs of fresh thyme
4-6 firm but soft crusted rolls of choice
bibb lettuce or greens of choice
Mustard Mayo Sauce
3/4 cup mayo
1 tablespoon dijon mustard
1 tablespoon whole grain mustard - I used course grained since it's what I keep around here.
2 tablespoons sour cream
1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
First, mix all the mayo, mustards, sour cream and kosher salt then place in the fridge.
Mmmmm, creamy, tangy, and delicious.
Slice up your onion and set aside. You want everything ready to go once you throw the meat in the pan.
That means the bread too. Slice the bread up and set it aside as well. I had some french style hoagie buns that I bought for another recipe. I will definitely be trying this recipe again with the focaccia.
Ahhhh, the meat. The beautiful hunk of meat that inspired this craving. How could I not buy it? It was too hard to resist. Although I will admit that london broil is not the best substitute for strip steak. Next time I'll buy something with a little bit more marbling. It was still delicious, just not as tender.
So, I sliced the london broil into 2" thick sections to simulate a strip steak's thickness. Season heavily with salt and pepper. Add just a bit more than you think it needs.
Heat up a couple of tablespoons of olive oil in a pan over high heat until smoking hot.
Just a freebie shot of the thyme. This is from the garden and I'll admit to feeling a bit Ina-ish being able to use an herb from the garden. It's the small things in life that tickle me. Never mind that Ina has a gardener who would know not to over water the thyme and then forget it on the hottest day of the year so far.
Back to the star, um the meat. Gently place the seasoned beef in the smoking hot pan and brown it for one minute on each side. See that sizzle? Yes, it smells as delicious as you imagine.
After about a minute, flip it over. Ooooh, lovely crusty sear.
After the initial browning, turn the heat down to low and cook the meat to your liking. I've mentioned before that anything less than well done is a no go for the for the family here so I stuck in my meat thermometer and let it cook turning every few minutes to brown all sides. Mine took about 15 minutes or so. After the first batch, repeat the process for the remaining meat.
Once all the beef is cooked, set it aside on a plate and tent it with foil to rest. Now raise the heat on the pan to medium high and add a bit more oil. Toss in your onions, thyme and a bit of kosher salt. Cook the onions, tossing gently until . . .
They transform into this. Caramelized onions seasoned with fragrant thyme. Set those aside as well.
Ladies and gentlemen, turn your attention to the bread. Slather both halves with the mustard mayo.
After your meat has rested, slice it across the grain into thin slices. Then pile that loveliness on the slathered bread. Mine was a little pink, but shhh I didn't tell anyone. I'm fine with a little pink.
Take a deep breath. I know it's a bit overwhelming to see this delicious sandwich come together. Pile the onions on top. This is Mr. Maricucu's sandwich so I didn't pile the onions on as heavily. My sandwich had plenty of onions. The boys for the moment don't like onions they can see.
It's okay you're almost done. Add the lettuce or, if your family is not opposed, the funky greens.
Finally, sigh. Cut in half and enjoy or let someone else enjoy it with you.