FRENCH ONION AND BLACK PEPPER STEAK

Our family has been in a bit of a steak-feeding frenzy since it’s my guys’ favorite and our grocery stores have been rather generous. Shoot, it doesn’t seem that long ago $7.99 a pound made me cringe. Now it’s a great deal. Hmm. Anyway, I toted steak home again, but this time with a different end in mind. What, I wondered, would steak taste like smothered in french onion soup? I found out–yum and yum again!

STEAK:

1-3/4 lb steak (whichever quality steak is on sale–in our case, top sirloin), about 1″ thick

2 tbsp olive oil, divided

2 tsp ground black pepper, divided

2 tsp sea salt, divided

FRENCH ONION SMOTHER:

1 tbsp olive oil

1 large onion, quartered and sliced thin (I used a white onion)

1 cup beef broth

1/2 cup red wine (I used semi-sweet)

1/4 tsp dry thyme

1 cup croutons (I used Texas Toast brand)

4 slices provolone

1) Crank up grill

2) Rub 1 tbsp olive oil into one side of steak, followed by 1 tsp black pepper and 1 tsp sea salt; flip and repeat on opposite side; set aside

3) In large skillet over medium heat, heat 1 tbsp olive oil; add onions and saute 15 minutes until they soften up and begin to caramelize; stir in beef broth, red wine, and thyme; reduce heat to low and cook additional 15 minutes (or roughly equivalent to the length of time it takes to grill your steak–coming up next), stirring occasionally

4) Meanwhile, preheat oven to broil and toss the steak on the grill (for medium, we grilled 7-8 minutes each side); when meat is cooked to your taste, transfer from grill to oven-safe skillet

5) Add croutons to onion mixture and immediately pour over steak in skillet; top with provolone; place in oven and broil 1-2 minutes until cheese melts and begins to go gold; remove from oven, slice into individual portions and enjoy!

Servings: 4

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RASPBERRY MONTE CRISTO SANDWICH

This has been the week for revisiting family favorites, and this sandwich certainly deserves to be on the list. It’s rather like a french toast sandwich with the sweet (raspberry jam) tucked inside along with provolone and ham. However, if you’re not certain about the raspberry jam, serve it on the side and give it a dip. Poor Junior Too–I forgot that he prefers his Monte Cristo spread with mustard. Sigh.

Raspberry Monte Cristo 070513

8 slices white bread

4 tbsp raspberry jam

8 slices Provolone cheese

4 slices ham (about 1/8″ thick)

3 eggs

1/2 cup milk

1/2 cup shaved Parmesan cheese (or grated)

2 tbsp fresh parsley, chopped

2 tbsp butter

1) Assemble each of 4 sandwiches as follows: spread 1 slice of bread with 1 tbsp raspberry jam, top with 1 slice Provolone cheese, 1 slice ham, 1 slice Provolone cheese, 1 slice of bread; set aside

2) In shallow bowl, mix eggs, milk, Parmesan cheese, and parsley

3) Heat large skillet over medium heat (depending on size of bread, you may have to make in two batches or use two skillets); melt butter in skillet

4) Dip both sides of each sandwich in egg batter and grill in skillet 4-5 minutes each side until cheese melts and bread is golden brown; remove from skillet and serve with fresh fruit; sooooo good!

Makes: 4

CARAMELIZED APPLE-HAM-PROVOLONE GRILLED CROISSANT

Shrimp and noodles was on the menu tonight. However, when I was tempted by fresh-baked croissants and crisp Fuji apples, I took a detour and paired them with black forest ham and provolone cheese. Granted, pressed and grilled croissants lose some of their lofty beauty, but–goodness!–talk about delicious. Can I see a show of thumbs? Oh, yes!
Caramelized Apple-Ham-Provolone Grilled Croissant

4 tbsp unsalted butter, divided

2 apples (I used Fuji), cored and cut into 1/2″ thick slices

3 tbsp brown sugar

1/2 tsp cinnamon

4 croissants, sliced sandwich-style

4 slices provolone

4 oz thin-sliced black forest ham

1) In large skillet over medium heat, melt 2 tbsp butter (reserving 2 tbsp); add apple slices and cook 5 minutes, stirring occasionally; sprinkle with brown sugar and cinnamon and, stirring often, cook 4-5 minutes until sauce thickens; remove from heat

2) Assemble sandwiches as follows, dividing ingredients between 4 croissants: bottom slice of croissant, provolone, ham, caramelized apples (extra sauce drizzled over apples), and top slice of croissant

3) In large skillet over medium heat, melt reserved 2 tbsp butter; place croissant sandwiches in skillet and grill 3-4 minutes each side until cheese melts and croissant is lightly crispy; serve with a salad (or some such)

Servings: 4