Wednesday, November 06, 2013


I’m determined to get caught up with this thing, which means you’re going to have to put up with nonseasonal recipes for a little while longer. This one is from Cooking Light, and while it seems pretty plain at first glance—bread, meat, greens, onion, and mayo—it definitely adds up to more than the sum of its parts. I usually find steak monotonous, but the peppery arugula, sweet and briny onions, and citrusy herbed aioli jazz things up. The aioli is actually my favorite part, and I say this as a recovering mayonnaise hater of long standing. To me, concocting my own mayo makes all the difference, and when you spike it with garlic, herbs and extra lemon, it’s irresistible. I knew this recipe would be a surefire hit with A, who loves red meat and sandwiches in equal measure, but I was surprised how much I enjoyed it too, and as a bonus it wasn't hard to throw together. I’ve made it twice already, and it’s likely to keep popping up on our menu through all seasons.

I made a few tweaks to the original recipe. I always find myself corrupting the finicky purity of Cooking Light recipes, but my only less-healthy change here was to add salt to the onion pickling mixture, because I think pickles should be at least somewhat salty. (I ahbor sweet pickles, so the 2 tablespoons of sugar seemed excessive to me, but I went with it as written and while I wouldn’t snack on the onions by themselves, they really work on the sandwich, their sweetness offset by the other ingredients.) Other than that, I merely swapped in basil, which seems more appropriately summery, for the tarragon, which I dislike. And it seemed a bit awkward to make one giant sandwich and then slice it into fourths—plus I wanted to save half of the food for leftovers the next day—so instead I just cut the bread into fourths to begin with and assembled the sandwiches separately.

¼ cup water
¼ cup cider vinegar
2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon kosher salt, plus extra to taste
1 cup thinly sliced red onion
¼ cup canola mayonnaise
1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 garlic clove, minced
1 pound flank steak, trimmed
1½ teaspoons olive oil
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
1 12-ounce French baguette
1 cup arugula leaves

1. Combine first three ingredients plus 1 teaspoon salt in a medium microwave-safe bowl; microwave on high 2 minutes or until boiling. Stir in onion. Let stand at room temperature for 30 minutes.

2. Preheat grill to medium-high heat.

3. Combine mayonnaise and next four ingredients (through garlic). Season with salt and pepper to taste.

4. Rub steak evenly with oil; sprinkle with salt and pepper. Place steak on grill rack; grill 5 minutes on each side or until desired degree of doneness. Remove from grill; let stand 5 minutes. Cut steak across the grain into thin slices.

5. Cut baguette in fourths crosswise, then cut the pieces in half lengthwise. Place bread, cut sides down, on grill rack; grill 1 minute or until toasted.

6. Drain onion mixture and discard liquid. Arrange one-quarter of the steak evenly over each of the four bottom baguette pieces; top evenly with onion and arugula. Spread mayonnaise mixture over cut side of each top baguette piece and place the top pieces on the sandwiches.

Serves: 4
Time: 35 minutes
Leftover potential: OK, if all components are stored separately and only assembled just before eating.

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