Since last year when I had a sandwich with meat I have been looking to make my own perfect one. This is not a try to make the well known Philly Steak and Cheese. I have never been to Philadelphia, let alone have a Philly sandwich. I did let myself be inspired by the ingredients, like the kind of cheese to use. Cheese is like wine, there is a kind for every kind of food, etc.
Last year for lunch at a cafe in the city I had a kaiser bread with rib-eye steak with mustard and rucola. Simple yet delicious. After 2 tries at home I know now how to make one. I also learned I rather have sirloin then any meat with fat on it. As I can’t stand when chewing my food to come across “gummy parts” to put it nicely.
My next try was a steak with cheese sandwich, because I just like cheese. After reading many food weblogs it seems clear Provolone is the cheese to use with steak in a sandwich. Also I came across another cheese: Bel Paese, chef Govind Armstrong uses it in his Grilled Cheese and Short Rib Sandwich. Here in Holland if you want special ingredients like a good provolone, bel paese or sirloin meat you’ll have to look for it. Forget the supermarket, here most supermarket don’t sell unique ingredients, they stock on products based on the neighborhood they are situated. I live in a neighborhood with mostly less then middle class dutch, lots of immigrants from Turkey, etc. Our supermarket just reopened last month, and to my joy they stock more products I had to get somewhere else before. Like sirloin meat, but that lasted about two weeks because they don’t sell and ended up expiring in the store. So they stopped selling prime cuts. They do have lot’s of cheese but mostly french cheese and of course dutch cheese. And a couple italian cheeses like Gran Padano, Parmigiano-Reggiano and Gorgonzola.
So this saturday I went to “Old Rijswijk” a very small town two stops further with the tram. I go most saturdays as they have a vegetable market then where I buy fresh veggies cheaper then at the supermarket. Then I go by the butcher to get prime cuts. The town also has a gourmet store where you can get “fancy” ingredients. They do have lots of specialty cheese but unfortunately they don’t have Provolone nor Bel Paese, they do have Pecorino which I have yet to buy as I’m not that adventurous to try sheep’s cheese.
So yesterday I bought a few slices of meat, english cheddar as there wasn’t any provolone or bel paese. And I got a fresh french baguette. Yesterday I read lots on the art of making a steak and sandwich, plus how to best tenderize meat. That’s when I came across and a very well documented weblog post on Salting meat. I kept doubting until last minute if I would salt my meat, but decided against it because it was such a thin slice of meat.
I settled on doing the most basic:
- Onion cut in rings
- Meat seasoned with pepper
- English cheddar
- A bit of Maggi’s for extra taste
- A warm baguette
to bland, I ate half of it and threw the rest away. The cheese wasn’t the best choice, the meat missed taste, the Maggi didn’t do it. The bread should have been warmer.
For the next try I’ll look around town for provolone or bel paese cheese, I will do the salting process with the meat. And while cooking try it to see if it tastes nice and then add Maggi’s if needed. And I’ll make sure the bread is real warm.
This is how you learn, trial and error over and over again, practice makes perfect. When I give it another try I’ll write it up here.