Food Revolution Recipe #1: Butterflied Steak Sarnie

This recipe is from “Jamie’s Food Revolution”, by Jamie Oliver. It’s basically an open-faced sandwich, but it is one of the prettiest, tastiest open-faced sandwiches I’ve ever had. It comes together very quickly, and the whole family loves it. I’ve made it twice, first as Oliver outlines it, then my own variation; it is a great technique recipe, or as Julia Child would call it, “master recipe”, because with just a little imagination you can substitute almost any meat, bread, and leafy green and it works. I’ll give you Oliver’s version straight up first, then the variation I cooked up last night for dinner, which my son devoured, and about which my husband declared, and I quote: “This Meal Rocks!”
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Butterflied Steak Sarnie-Jamie Oliver

serves 2

2 large portobello mushrooms
2 x 7-ounce filet mignon steaks
a sprig of fresh rosemary
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
olive oil
1 ciabatta loaf
extra virgin olive oil
juice of 1/2 a lemon
a small handful of watercress
Dijon mustard

I doubled this to make 4 servings; I used 1 1/4 in. thick sirloin steaks cut in half to resemble filet mignon steaks, because they cost less; I reduced the serving size of the meat to about 4 oz, as 7 oz of meat is quite a lot; I only used one type of olive oil, it doesn’t matter; check the bakery at your supermarket for ciabatta; my supermarket didn’t have any watercress the day I shopped, so I bought baby spinach instead, and it worked fine.

I used a grill pan over med-high heat. Clean the mushrooms and slice across the bottom of them so they will lay flat in the pan. While the pan’s warming up, lay the mushrooms bottom down, and press down on them, to char them. Turn them over, and press on them again (I used a heavy pan to do this so I could get the steaks ready).

Dry the steaks with a paper towel, so they will brown. Butterfly your steaks: with a good, sharp knife, carefully slice horizontally through the middle of each one, using long, slow slicing movements, and open each one out like a book (don’t cut all the way through the other side!).

Remove the rosemary leaves from the sprig, and finely chop. Mix the rosemary with a good pinch of salt and pepper on a cutting board, place your open steaks on top, patting them down so the seasonings stick. Drizzle with olive oil, turn over and repeat. Rub them a little with your hands if you want to spread the seasonings more evenly.

Remember the mushrooms? Remove them from the grill pan to a plate. Place the steaks in the pan, pressing down on them briefly. Cook to desired doneness, turning every minute. (Oliver’s recipe says 4 min. total for a medium steak, but this obviously will depend on your steak. Keep an eye on them, they cook quickly-don’t overcook them or they’ll be tough and juiceless.) Remove the steaks from the pan to rest with the mushrooms. Cut ciabatta into desired serving-size pieces, on an angle, and place in the pan. Press them down with a heavy pan (flat-bottomed cast iron pan is perfect). Toast for a couple minutes a side, to get grill marks on the bread. To finish, drizzle the steaks and mushrooms with a little olive oil, a squeeze of lemon juice, and a pinch of salt and pepper.

Assemble your plates: Place a piece of ciabatta on the plate; top with a steak, a bit of watercress, and a mushroom, then drizzle some of the juices from the resting plate over the whole sandwich. Serve with a jar of Dijon mustard on the table.

For my variation, I went with a couple 1 1/2 in. thick boneless pork loin chops, cut into four pieces, then butterflied. I used arugula in place of watercress, and slices of crusty french bread in place of ciabatta. The execution was exactly the same, and as I mentioned, a screaming success.

If you don’t have knives you trust with your fingers, I suggest buying thin steaks or pork chops so you don’t have to butterfly; it’s just a fun technique, it doesn’t change the flavor of the meat. This could easily be a chicken breast recipe as well. Try it with shredded lettuce or cabbage as the greens. You really need a sturdy bread for the grill pan, so nothing squishy will work there.

Now, try this recipe out if it sounds good to you, and then, well. Pass. It. On. Bon Appetit!

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