Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Arugula-Basil Pesto Sandwich

Sometimes a good old steak sandwich on french bread just hits the spot!  Tonight we enjoyed an arugula-basil pesto steak sandwich (arugula is one of my favorite greens!).  However, if you are not a red meat eater, this sandwich is versatile and would also be great without meat or with a grilled breast; but, I have to say, the steak is yummy and was the source of inspiration in making a different type of pesto!  This sandwich has grilled New York strip steak, melted smoked fontina, crispy shallots, roasted red peppers and my homemade arugula-basil pesto, which brings a peppery, yet mildly sweet flavor to the dish!  With an arugula, cherry tomato, feta salad on the side, with a simple age-balsamic dressing!  Here's my original recipe:

What You'll Need & How to Put It All Together!:
  • Steak & Shallots:
    • Slice two shallots finely and heat in pan with just a small dash of olive oil--the idea is to get them a little crispy, not sauteed.  When this is done set aside.
    • 1 (12 ounce) boneless strip New York sirloin strip steak
      • Season with salt, pepper, granulated garlic (both sides--my little tip is to poke a few wholes on each side with a fork so that the seasoning gets into the steak)
      • Brush with extra virgin olive oil
      • Dash 1 to 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
        • Marinate for about 20 minutes
        • Then cook on grill (I only eat red meat medium rare, I think it is the most flavorful way to enjoy it, so adjust the grill time according to your own liking)

  •  Arugula-Basil Pesto:
    • 2 cups of fresh basil
    • 2 cups of fresh arugula
    • 2 garlic cloves
    • 1/2 cup of toasted pine nuts (toast in a small frying pan on medium heat for 3 to 5 minutes)
    • 1/4 cup of grated Parmesan cheese
    • 1/4 cup of grated smoked fontina cheese
    • 1/4 cup of olive oil
      • Place toasted pine nuts, garlic and both grated cheese in food process until grind together
      • Add basil and 1/8 cup of olive oil (you don't have to worry about chopping it if you have a good food processor)
      • Add arugula and 1/8 cup of olive oil
        • Depending on how you like the texture of your pesto, you can drizzle more olive oil, for this it is a more of a spread so it is a bit thicker.  If you are tossing it on warm pasta it will blend right in, but again depending on your texture preference you'd add more olive oil
  • Arugula Cherry Tomato Salad:
    • 1 package of wild arugula (you can get this from Trader Joe's)
    • 1/4 cup of feta cheese
    • 6 to 8 plump cherry tomatoes sliced in half
    • 2 cloves of fresh crushed garlic
    • Salt and pepper to taste
    • 1/8 cup of extra virgin olive oil
    • 2 tablespoons of aged-balsamic vinegar (my Mom turned me on to aged-balsamic and I am never going back!  It is rich and full of flavor, amazing!)
    • I wash and place ingredients in salad bowl and toss together--that easy!
      • You can add more oil olive and balsamic vinegar to your liking, but I don't like my salads to swim
  • Assemble Sandwiches:
    • While steaks are cooking spread each side of your 6" french bread loaf with the pesto
    • Sprinkle crispy shallots on one side of each roll
    • Add a nice size sliced of roasted bell pepper to each side of the bread
    • Sprinkle with grated fontina on each side
    • Pop in broiler for about 3 to 5 minutes just before steaks are done (watch this, you don't want it to burn, just melt)
    • Thinly slice steaks and lay slices on the warm sandwiches slices
I usually throw the salad together first and just hold off on the olive oil and vinegar until just before we sit down to eat.  Marinate the steaks, make the pesto, grill the steaks, assemble the sandwiches and walla, you're done!  The entire meal with prep time takes about 35 minutes and serves 2 t o3 people!  As always, this goes great with a glass of wine, I recommend a good Cabernet!  This sandwich can also be made in advanced to bring along on a summer picnic! 

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