Steak Sandwich with Caramelized Onions

Grilling burgers isn’t rocket science. Just about anyone can do it. But a good steak sandwich is a work of art.

I’ve had my share of good steak sandwiches over the years. The first one that comes to mind was at Barb’s Cafe in Angus, Minn. It actually was a mushroom steak sandwich. It was one of the specialties of Barb Arnold, who ran the cafe along with her husband, Kelly.

I remember stopping in at Barb’s one summer during my college days, while working for the Minnesota State Highway Department (now the Department of Transportation). Our crew, which worked on the road, would have lunch there on Fridays on our way back to Crookston. And I always had the steak sandwich.

Another tasty one was Tony Oliva’s Cuban Steak Sandwich at Target Field. The past two times I’ve attended Twins games in Minneapolis, one of my first stops was the stand behind home plate where the steak sandwiches are served.

Here’s a steak sandwich recipe I came across this week that looks pretty good. It is topped with caramelized onions, which make a wonderful side dish for roasts or grilled fish, atop burgers and pizzas, and, of course, steak sandwiches.

Steak Sandwich with Caramelized Onions and Melted Cheese
CARAMELIZED ONIONS:
6 tablespoons extra virgin
Olive oil
5 medium onions, finely sliced
1 teaspoon super fine sugar
1 small bay leaf
STEAK SANDWICHES:
4 fillet steaks, 7 ounces each

7 ounces Camembert cheese
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 slices of sourdough bread
2 oregano sprigs, leaves stripped
First, caramelize the onions: heat the olive oil in a heavy-bottomed sauté pan over low heat, then add the onions, sugar, and bay leaf. Give everything a good stir, cover with a lid, and slowly cook the onions until they are a deep nut-brown in color; stir occasionally. This process will take longer than you think — about an hour. Meanwhile, bring the steaks to room temperature (this will take about 20 to 30 minutes); de-rind the cheese and divide it into four chunky slices.
Toward the end of the onions’ cooking time, heat a nonstick frying pan over high heat. Add the oil and, when it’s shimmering, gently place a steak into the pan. You should fry the steaks one at a time: if you add all four at once they’ll steam rather than fry. For rare steaks about 1-inch thick, cook for 1 to 2 minutes on each side, and rest for 5 minutes.
Season each steak with salt and pepper, place a cheese slice on top of it, and set aside in a warm place so that the cheese begins to melt. Meanwhile, toast the bread. Spoon the caramelized onions onto the toast, place the cheese-smothered steaks on top, finish with a sprinkle of oregano leaves, and serve immediately.
Yield: Serves 4.
Approximate nutritional analysis per serving: 756 calories, 56 percent of calories from fat, 46 grams fat (16.3 grams saturated, 24 grams monounsaturated), 167 milligrams cholesterol, 55 grams protein, 28 grams carbohydrates, 2.9 grams fiber, 655 milligrams sodium.

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