By Lee Hefter, executive chef at Wolfgang Puck's steakhouse, Cut, in Los Angeles
A sandwich should be thoughtfully laid out, with components that add up to a complete meal, but the most important thing is that the ingredients should be of excellent quality. They should also be easy to come by: It's a sandwich, after all. That's why I start with steak. It's never been easier to buy great beef. For the perfect steak sandwich, don't be afraid to buy a nice cut of beef. The three basic cuts I use to make a sandwich without requiring the tenderization process of a marinade are rib eye, New York strip (sirloin), and filet, all available from any butcher. To season it, simply salt and pepper the meat, and that's it. That's all you have to do to it.
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This open-faced sandwich is a bit more elegant than one you pick up; it's like a great steak salad on toast. Again, other than salt and pepper, there's no need for seasoning. You get all the zing you need from glazing the sautéed vegetables with a little steak sauce added right to the pan. Everything you want is already in that bottle - the tomatoes, the spices, the vinegar - and in just the right proportions. It's a fail-safe way to add flavor; you're going to look like a genius.
- 8-oz prime strip or rib-eye steak or filet
- Coarse salt and ground black pepper
- Unsalted butter
- 1/2 cup red onion, sliced into half moons
- 1/2 cup pickled cherry peppers (hot and sweet), sliced
- 1 cup white mushrooms, sliced thin
- 2 tbsp steak sauce (like A1)
- Hoagie-style soft roll, ends trimmed, split horizontally
- Garlic mayonnaise (see below)
- 4 slices Vermont white cheddar (about 4 oz)
- Arugula, cleaned and dressed with red-wine or light balsamic vinaigrette
- 2-inch piece fresh horseradish root, peeled
Grill, broil, or pan-sear steak until medium rare, season with coarse salt and ground black pepper, and let rest before thinly slicing. In sauté pan over medium heat, melt 2 tbsp butter until lightly browned, and caramelize onions. Add peppers and mushrooms and cook, flipping frequently, until well mixed, about 3 minutes. Add steak sauce and simmer to glaze, about 2 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.
Lightly butter roll and lightly toast in skillet (buttered sides down). Spread toasted sides with garlic mayo and place on foil-covered sheet pan. Top with cheese and melt open-faced under preheated broiler. Remove and transfer to serving plate. Arrange steak atop broiled bread, overlapping slices slightly, and evenly distribute vegetable mixture, finishing with dressed arugula salad. Using small-hole side of box grater or microplane zester, shred horseradish root (as when working with raw chiles, do not touch your eyes) over sandwich and serve.
How to Make Garlic Mayo
Place peeled garlic clove on clean work surface. Using broad side of a chef's knife, crush slightly and macerate, using circular motions, until it becomes paste. Add a pinch of kosher salt and mix. Stir paste into mayonnaise, adding ground black pepper and a pinch of finely chopped flat-leaf parsley. Use about 2 garlic cloves to 1/4 cup mayo, more or less according to your taste.
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