Friday, September 09, 2005

The Sandwich

The first time I ate at Pastis was on one of my first dates with J. I remember little of the evening except The Sandwich.

It must have been after midnight, because, at that time, The Sandwich was only served on the late night supper menu. I know we drank lots wine out of adorable little glasses. I remember feeling flushed with sparkly young romance as we shared oysters. And I remember that once The Sandwich arrived I forgot about J. entirely and started moaning softly to myself as I tore into the crusty bread and sweet sweet meat. I gestured madly to signify that this, this Sandwich, was the very finest thing I'd ever eaten in my entire life, and that I would love him forever and marry him and have his babies because I was so grateful that he'd brought me to this turning point in my sandwich-eating life.

J. didn't understand. He wasn't raised in the Temple Of Food and he only attends services on special occasions. My family, the Raisinhaters, we have the faith. We wake up and talk about what we're going to have for breakfast. As we eat our pig-based breakfast (we always decide on pig), we talk about lunch. As we eat lunch, we try to figure out how late we can eat dinner so that maybe we can squeeze in an extra afternoon meal and call it something misleading like "tea time."

So the very first thing I did when I woke up the next morning was call my parents and my three brothers and share with them the discovery of The Sandwich. And they tried it, and they were changed, transported. We Raisinhaters were not the first to recognize its greatness, a fellow Sandwich Lover ranked it the best sandwich in New York City. And, as he mentions, the frites are amazing too, but that is an experiment for another day.

Now, I am the most fortunate girl in the whole wide world because I live within the Pastis delivery zone. Some have asserted that this actually drove the apartment selection process, and I cannot deny that it was a factor. And it doesn't hurt that Pastis is also just a short walk away, for those evenings when I manage not to put on my pajama pants at 6pm. Sometimes, though, real life intervenes and takes away the job and the money, and even lucky me cannot go to Pastis as often as I would like.

So last night I gathered with some of my brothers and we very scientifically recreated our own almost-as-good-as-Pastis sandwiches and stuffed ourselves senseless while guzzling wine. And I will share this recipe with you, just in case you do not live comfortably within the Pastis delivery zone, or a bad bad man took away your job and you have less money than you would like, or you simply do not feel like putting on your low rise pants and cowboy boots to tromp down to the stupid meatpacking district trying to look trendy while drinking wine out of adorable little cups.

Sliced Steak Sandwich w/ Onions and Gruyere

This sandwich really requires that you spend the extra money and get the good stuff –meat from a trusted butcher (or whole foods), fancy aged gruyere, and fresh crusty bread. If you want to save some cash, try it with less expensive mushrooms.

1 large shell steak (about 1.4 lbs)
gruyere cheese
2 baguette-length loaves of crusty French bread
1/3 to 1/2 lb shitake mushrooms, stems removed, chopped into 1" pieces
1.5 large yellow onions
olive oil
healthy splash of red wine (plus lots more for drinking)
healthy splash of beef broth
frisee lettuce

serves 4 very hungry people

Slice the onions into strips and caramelize by cooking over medium heat with 2 T butter in a large skillet for 20-30 minutes, or until very brown, soft and sweet. Set onions aside. Cook the steak in the same pan on medium high to high heat – do not cook past medium rare, it will continue cooking after you remove it from the pan. We browned ours on the exterior and removed it while rare. Wipe any very burned bits out the pan and return the onions to the pan, along with the mushrooms, adding a little olive oil, and heat on medium. When the mushrooms soften and give off liquid, add the red wine, bring to a boil, and reduce. Next, add the beef broth and reduce, scraping up any brown bits off the bottom of the pan. Add 1 T of butter to thicken. Slice the rested and slightly cooled steak into thin strips, and slice the gruyere into sandwich size pieces.

Slice the hard ends off the loaves of bread, cut each loaf in half and slice down the middle. Remove some of the extra bread to make room for more steak. Generously spread mayo on the bread and put on a little frisee lettuce (optional). Add steak slices, gruyere, and a generous amount of the onion/mushroom mixture. Devour.


Blogger Randi said...

I dont eat red meat but this sounds so good.

7:20 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Awesomeness. Google brought me to your recipe. And to think I was alone in trying to recreate the Pastis steak sandwich. Hoping and praying something out there on the internet can resemble the perfection I had that day. Thanks for your recipe.

2:12 AM  

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