This is one delicious sandwich.
A Hot and Toasty Steak Sandwich. When I was in college, my roommate and I used to order a sandwich called, “The Gobbler.” It started as a delicious turkey sandwich with cheese, shredded lettuce, tomatoes and mayonnaise on a fresh baked sub roll, that was then toasted to heat the sandwich and melt the cheese.
I remember thinking it was odd to put the cold lettuce and tomato on the sandwich before heating it, but it was soooo good and definitely one of our more popular splurges when we decided to forgo the university dining hall.
Sandwiches aren’t recipes really. Not for me, at least. They’re more like great coordination concepts, with someone putting together the right mix of fillings and spreads, toppings and breads.
It’s not even my “coordination concept,” but my husband’s, who has never even had the wonderful experience of eating a “Gobbler.”
So his inspiration comes not from that famed turkey sub, but more likely from where he grew up, the land of the famous cheese steak. This steak sandwich is something quite different, though no less famous at our house.
It’s a very simple sandwich, but has just the right balance of flavors and textures. Start with great ingredients…a loaf of fresh baked ciabatta, ripe roma tomatoes, fresh baby spinach, red onion and basil.
The steak and cheese are key, for obvious reasons, so try to get good quality; it will make a difference. For the steak, we have the butcher slice thin slices of top round, but of course you can go with a higher fat content and use ribeye (which many famous Philly cheese steaks are made of,) or use your favorite cut.
The key is getting it sliced thinly but not so thin that it shreds on you, about an 1/8 to 1/4”. The cheese is a nice gruyere, also sliced thinly. Actually, thin is a recurring theme here as the onion and tomatoes will also get the same treatment.
Sandwich building 101: Seal the bread with something delicious. Today we are using a simple basil mayonnaise. I give you measurements for a generous amount of mayonnaise, at least by my standards, but you can use more or less depending upon your tastes.
You’ll need enough to seal each side of the bread so that the moisture from the other ingredients does not render your sandwich soggy.
The order of layering is important. First, the hot sliced steak, fresh from the frying pan, followed by the thinly sliced cheese that will benefit from the heat of the steak beneath it.
The fresh leaves of baby spinach are scattered on top of the steak and held in place by the weightier tomatoes, with the onions topping off the tower.
Finally, the top of the loaf is pressed firmly on the tower, the whole thing wrapped in foil and put into the oven long enough for the cheese to melt.
Open the foil for just a few minutes at the end until you’ve toasted it lightly. Leave it too long and it will challenge the roof of your mouth with every bite. In fact, if your loaf is a bit crusty to begin with, you might want to skip this final step and keep the foil sealed.
Either way, once you open up that foil and slice yourself a piece, you’ll see that each component of this steak sandwich works together beautifully, from the hot steak and melted gruyere, to the slightly wilted spinach, warmed tomatoes and crunchy onions.
Hot and Toasty Steak Sandwich. It brings back fond memories of “The Gobbler,” and it is certainly just as delicious.
Hot and Toasty Steak Sandwich
- 1 loaf ciabatta bread sliced crosswise into a top and bottom
- 1 pound thinly sliced top round steak
- 1 Tablespoon olive oil
- 2 Tablespoons Lea and Perrins Worcestershire sauce
- 2 teaspoons low sodium soy sauce
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 2/3 cup mayonnaise
- 2 Tablespoons chopped fresh basil
- 4 ounces thinly sliced gruyere cheese
- 2 handfuls of fresh baby spinach
- 2 Roma tomatoes sliced about 1/4" thick
- 1/4 of a medium red onion sliced very thinly
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Place Worcestershire, soy sauce, olive oil and pepper into a plastic zip lock bag and mix thoroughly. Add the steak and insure all surfaces are coated with the mixture. Set aside at room temperature for 10-15 minutes.
Lightly spray a non-stick frying pan with cooking oil and flash fry the steak, a few pieces at a time until all the steak has been cooked. Set aside.
Mix the chopped basil with the mayonnaise and spread to the edges of the cut sides of the bread.
Season tomatoes with salt and pepper.
Layer the cooked steak on top of the mayonnaise and follow with the cheese, spinach, tomatoes and onions, in that order.
Press the top of the loaf firmly on the sandwich, then tightly wrap in foil.
Place on a baking sheet and bake in the oven for 15 minutes or until cheese is melted.
Open the foil for the last few minutes to lightly toast the bread.
Slice and serve hot.
*We bought our loaf from Whole Foods, before it went through it's final baking. (Some of their loaves come in par baked and they bake to fill their shelves.) This gave us more leeway on being able to bake it and toast it without it becoming too crusty.
*We sometimes make this on individual ciabatta rolls. Depending upon how much steak you want on each, you should get 4-6 rolls.
*The steak is seasoned shortly before cooking. This is not a four hour or overnight marinade process. It is so thin that you don't want the seasoning to overwhelm the flavor of your steak, so 10 -15 minutes is really plenty of time.
*Grill option-once you wrap the sandwich in foil, you can heat it on a grill using indirect heat, not directly over the coals or fire. Close the lid to create an outdoor oven and follow directions in recipe for heating the sandwich. You simply want to heat it enough to melt the cheese, then open it for a few minutes to toast the bread.
Recipe from The Merchant Baker Copyright © 2014