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.