A Parmesan-mustard crowned king among steak sandwiches…

Howdy folks and welcome to this absolute & undeniable love in to the humble steak sandwich. This is one those recipes that I didn’t even know I was missing until I found it, made it, loved it and now am planning all the future occasions for which it would be suitable – family birthdays, summer BBQ’s, Tuesday afternoons…know what I’m saying?

There was I, innocently flipping through the latest edition of Bon Appetit Magazine, turning over so many corners of so many pages I might as well have just folded down the entire damn issue, when the words ‘steak’, ‘sandwich’, ‘Parmesan’ and ‘mustard’ threw themselves off the page and into my eye-line and an instant obsession at the thought of making this for dinner was born. J & I do a lot of the cooking together which I love but this was something I fancied making for him; the thought of presenting him with something homemade, unexpected and delicious was all the incentive I needed to get acquainted with this dish.

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I made a couple of changes to the original recipe which can be found linked to at the bottom of the page; the flank steak that I found in stores wasn’t inspiring me so I switched it out for a ranch cut (from the cow’s shoulder & superb as long as it’s not over-cooked) and I added some roasted Piccolino tomatoes and garlic cloves because oh my god hello, why wouldn’t you? Ridiculously sweet, they were the perfect accompaniment to the rich, juicy steak and the salty dressing.

I also took a detour from my usual methods of cooking – following the guidelines but generally free-styling till I think it looks & tastes perfect – and adhered to the timings given down to the second. I think we’ve all had steak that could masquerade for decade old shoe leather so we know it can be hard enough to cook well at the best of times but when you’re using a lean, thin cut like ranch, it’s literally a matter of seconds between life & death for that piece of meat on your plate.

Forgive my preaching to the converted here too sisters & brothers but I simply cannot stress enough how important it is to rest, rest, rest your meat; you wanna let the juices sink back into it rather than puddle under it on your plate. Yeah, I know you wanna eat it, I know you just wanna pick it up and take the biggest possible ‘Man vs Food’ style bite out of it but control yourself – says she who has never put a half eaten tub of Ben & Jerry’s back in the freezer – and walk away. I promise you won’t regret it.

Open Faced Steak Sandwich with Red Onion, Rocket & a Parmesan-Mustard Dressing, served with Roasted Piccolino Tomatoes & Garlic 

INGREDIENTS (for 2 people)

  • 500 grams thin steak (I used ranch which was absolutely perfect)
  • Sea salt & freshly ground pepper
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1/4 – 1/2 small red onion, thinly sliced into crescents
  • ¼ cup / 55 grams whole grain mustard
  • 3 tablespoons / 50 ml fresh lemon juice
  • ½ cup / 120 ml olive oil, plus a little more for bread & tomatoes
  • ounces / 50 grams Parmesan, finely grated
  • 2 small ciabatta loaves, halved lengthwise
  • 100 grams rocket
  • 250 grams piccolino tomatoes (cherry or baby plum would work fine too)
  • 6 cloves of peeled garlic (adjust to your taste…I’m a garlic fiend!)

METHOD (approximately 30-35 minutes)

  • Put your oven on to 375 F/190 C/170 with fan/gas mark 5.
  • Place your sliced onion in a small bowl and cover with cold water then set to one side.
  • Put your tomatoes & garlic cloves in a shallow baking tray, drizzle with olive oil and pop on a medium shelf in your oven; check on them & rotate tray when you rest your steak.
  • Heat a dry griddle pan (preferably cast iron) over a medium-high heat.

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  • Using a sharp knife, lightly score your steaks on both sides in a crosshatch pattern as above, then season generously with sea salt & black pepper and rub all over with vegetable oil.
  • Cook steak for 4-5 minutes on each side, turning once or twice to ensure an even cook, until they are medium-rare and lightly charred.

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  • Transfer your steaks to a cutting board and let them rest for 15 minutes under a sheet of tin foil; keep your griddle pan to one side for the bread later on.
  • Your dressing can be made in a blender or with a balloon whisk & a bowl which I did here; the flavours will be the same but the texture won’t be as smooth.
  • Mix your mustard and lemon juice in the blender or your bowl to combine.
  • While whisking or with the blender running, slowly stream in your ½ cup olive oil, then gradually add your Parmesan.
  • Blend in 1 tablespoon of cold water and mix well then season to taste with salt and pepper.

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  • Put your griddle pan back on to a medium heat.
  • Drizzle the cut sides of your ciabatta with olive oil then place cut side down on the heated griddle plan, 2 halves at a time; cook until golden brown and crisp which will take around 5 minutes for each set of 2 halves.
  • Put your bread cut side up on a board and drizzle with 1/3 of your dressing; top with your rocket.
  • Drain your onion from the water, pat dry and scatter over the rocket then season with salt & pepper and drizzle with half of the remaining dressing.

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  • Thinly slice the steak and arrange it over the dressed rocket leaves on the bread.
  • Add the roasted tomatoes & garlic from the oven and serve immediately.

I’m not even gonna try and tone down my heart-eyes emoji love for this sandwich because it’s damn good. Like, really up there with the best of them.

The bread is crispy but still soft in the middle with little pools of golden olive oil in the open pockets of the crumb. The steak is soft, tender and juicily meaty enough to totally wash away any concerns you might have over ‘a little sandwich’ not filling you up. The onion has been stripped of any harshness thanks to its water bath, the rocket, tomatoes & garlic add colour, texture & an extra layer of flavour and the dressing is perfect, clasping everything else to its creamy, tangy bosom with delicious devotion.

If you wanna impress the meat-lover in your life, this is the sandwich to make and you know what? If that meat-lover is you then kudos my friend. This is your time and this is your sandwich.

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