Perfect Pork Tenderloin With Roasted Asparagus and Warm Citrus Sauce!
March 7, 2015
If You Can Dream It, You Can Eat It! Mediterranean Steak Sandwich
January 14, 2015
Dreaming is a pretty neat phenomenom. Sometimes I dream I can fly and other times, I can leap tall buildings in a single bound. But yesterday morning when I woke, although I couldn't remember all of the details of my dream, I could still smell the aroma of Mediterranean seasonings and remembered I was making Mediterranean Steak Sandwiches in my dream. You might think that makes me a tad weird - I like to think I dabble in quirky. I've come to realize that if I can dream it, I can eat it and usually with more than a modicum of success.
Lord only knows what made me dream about a steak sandwich. I don't think I was hungry or at least I didn't wake up hungry. Amusing about dreaming of cooking food while I was making Mackenzie's school lunch, I thought, 'you know...a Mediterranean Steak Sandwich might be really, really good. That's what I should make for dinner!'. I wasn't exacly sure where I was going to go with the meal, but the basic idea had been planted. What was the worse that could happen? I'd have to really screw things up for it to taste absolutely awful and I was pretty sure I wasn't going to do that. So remembering the words of the immortal Julia Childs, 'The only real stumbling block is fear of failure; in cooking you have to have a what-the-hell attitude", I forged onward. Having a quick peak in my refrigerator, freezer and cupboards. I discovered that other than fresh subrolls and spinach, I had everything I needed, at least as far as I could see. I took an 8 ounce sirloin steak out of the freezer to thaw and went about the business of the day. I was going to marinate my steak to infuse some flavour so after it had been thawing fo a couple of hours, while it was still a little firm, I sliced it very thinly and placed the sliced steak in a zipper lock baggie. I then mixed up something akin to Greek Salad Dressing by combining 1/2 c. olive oil, the juice of 2 regular sized lemons, 3 tsp dry oregano, 2 cloves of garlic, minced, 1 tsp dry basil, 2 Tbsp red wine vinegar, and 1/2 tsp each of freshly ground sea salt and black pepper. I whisked that all up and poured half of the mixture over the steak slices in the baggie. I sealed the baggie and tossed the meat to coat and placed the baggie and the leftover 'dressing' in the refrigerator. I let the steak slices marinate for approximately 3 hours before I began cooking.
Seeings how I was going to make these Mediterranean Steak Sandwiches for dinner, I wanted to have something on the side. My first thought was homefries and then it occurred to me that I had some beautiul local blue potatoes that I could cut into wedges. season and bake in the oven. All types of potatoes are high in carbohydrates and contain a moderate amount of calories as well as healthy amounts of fiber, vitamins and minerals. However, potato varieties with dark-colored flesh such as Purple Viking, Blue Moon, Yukon Gold and Ruby Crescent have some added health benefits. The pigments in these varieties provide flavenoids and carotenoids that promote good health and prevent cancer. The local blues I had on hand had a dark purplish skin with a little bit of purplish-blue veining near the skin which is unlike Puple Viking potatoes which are completely dark purple in color.
My plan was to serve dinner at 6:30 so at 5:30, I scrubbed the potatoes. cut each into quarters and cut each quarter into thirds. I tossed the potatoe wedges with a drizzle of olive oil, and approximately 1/2 tsp each of dry oregano and rosemay. I added in one clove of garlic, minced, and a pinch of freshly ground sea salt and black pepper. After tossing the potatoes to coat, I spread them out in a single layer on a baking sheet and at 5:45 I placed them in a 400 degree Fahrenheit oven for about 40 minutes, turning once after 20 minutes. Given the Mediterranean flavours of this meal, regular old ketchup just wouldn't do so I tossed a pint of cherry tomatoes with some olive oil, a little sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, a pinch or two of dry oregano and minced garlic. I placed the tomatos onto a nonstick pie pan and when there was 15 minutes left on the oven timer, I placed the tomatoes in the oven to roast.
The aroma from the Seasned Potato Wedges and Roasted Cherry Tomatoes was incredible and they were the perfect accompaniment to the Mediterranean Steak Sandwiches. The potatoes were golden and crisp and the roasted cherry tomatoes were the perfect Mediteranean flavoured condiment!
Just before adding the tomatoes to the oven with the Seasoned Potato Wedges, I got started on my Mediterranean Steak Sandwiches. I cut a red onion into 1/4 inch slices, brushed each side with olive oil and seasoned lightly with freshly ground sea salt and black pepper. I then gave the onion slices a quick grill on my stove top grill pan, just until there were nice char marks on both sides. I then removed them from the pan and set them aside. While the grill pan was still hot, I quickly grilled my marinated steak strips in the same manner, just until nicely charred on both sides, but not overcooked. I placed them on the plate alongside the grilled onions. Next, I heated a large nonstick skillet over medium heat, added in a Tbsp or two of olive oil and 2 cloves of garlic, minced. When the garlic was fragrant, I added in approximately 3 cups of fresh baby spinach and gave that a quick saute. When the spinach was slightly wilted, I placed it and the garlic on the plate with the grilled steak strips and grilled onions. For some extra flavour, I sliced open the subrolls, brushed each side with some olive oil an gave them a quick grill on the grill pan. All that was left to do from there was assemble, and place the sandwiches in the oven just to heat through and melt the cheese.
I layered girlled red onion on the subrolls, then the sauteed spinach and garlic, topped with some crumbled feta cheese. I placed grilled steak strips on top of the feta cheese, drizzled on some of the reserved marinade and topped it with grated Fontina cheese. Fontina cheese is an Italian cow's milk cheese. Although made year round, the best cheese is obtained during the summer when the cows are moved to an altitude of 1,800 to 2,300 metres and fed only with rich grass growing on the Italian Alps. It is noted for it's earthy, mushroomy and woody taste nd pairs exceedingly well with roast meats and truffles. Fontina has been given PDO, Protected Designation of Origin, status under European law ,meaning it has to be made in a very precise manner from very precise ingredients.
When I had my Mediterranean Steak Sandwiches all assembled, I removed the Seasoned Potato Wedges and Roasted Cherry Tomatoes, and placed the sandwiches on a baking sheet in the 400 degree Fahrenheit oven for about 7 minutes, just until they were heated through and the cheese was melted. All that was left was to plate this scrumptious weeknight meal.
The Mediterranean Steak Sandwiches were absolutely drool-worthy! The flavour of the smoky, sweet red onion, garlicky sauteed spinach, briny feta, tender and slightly tangy steak strips all smothered in melted Fontina cheese with the added textural not from the cripsy subrolls was an absolute delight to the taste buds. The Seasoned Potato Wedges, flavoured with garlic, rosemary and oregano were golden and crispy and the Roasted Cherry Tomatoes were the perfect accompaniments - no bottled ketchup for this meal!
While this meal felt completely indulgent, the health benefits from the roasted blue potatoes, cherry tomatoes and spinach certainly bolstered it over onto the healthied-up side of things. I estimate the cost of this meal to be approximately $4.33 per person and other than the marinating of the steak, t took less than an hour to pull tohgether.