It’s lunchtime and you’re in a Cuban restaurant. (I wish. *sigh*)
You think to yourself, “Self, I don’t want anything too big. Maybe I’ll just have a sandwich.”
So you peruse the menu of said Cuban restaurant and find a few noteworthy sandwiches that you can choose from:
- There’s the classic Pan con Lechón or Cuban Pork Sandwich. You really can’t go wrong there.
- There’s the not-so-subtly named Cuban Sandwich.
- Or of course, the Elena Ruz – a delicious turkey, cream cheese and jam concoction (which I flagrantly re-invented, but that’s not important right now).
But then your hungry eyes fall on this item on the menu: Pan con Bistec.
And you ask yourself, “What’s a bistec?” (Bee-STEKH)
This, my hungry friend, is where you suddenly find that you’ve entered the Cuban Translation Fun-House.
Bistec is a (fabulous!) Cubanism for “beef steak.”
So then, you reason, Pan con Bistec is really “Bread with Steak” or…..
A Cuban Steak Sandwich!
Why didn’t they just say so in the first place?!
And okay, you could certainly order that Pan con Bistec from our Imaginary Cuban Restaurant or you could make one using my recipe.
I am not even going to feign modesty here. I will go on record and unequivocally state that I make The Best Cuban Steak Sandwich EVER. It’s true. But it’s because I’m lazy. There, I said it. No, it’s really okay. I freely admit it.
Yep, L-A-Z-Y. Which is why I’m not a big fan of spending hours in the kitchen slaving over a hot stove. I’m going to go out on a limb here and guessing that there aren’t a whole lot of fans of hot-stove-slavery out there, but that’s not important right now.
And when I cook, particularly Cuban food, it’s usually because I’m just craving a particular taste and I’m too lazy to drive a couple of hours on the Los Angeles freeway system to go on a Cuban Food Hunt.
But on the other hand, I do spend time (sometimes a shameful amount of time!) trying to figure out the easiest way to satisfy my current Cuban food craving.
What this means is that you’re totally in luck today. Because I was craving a fantastic Pan con Bistec – Cuban steak sandwich. And believe me, not all steak sandwiches are created equal.
Which is why instead of starting with a pounded-within-an-in-of-its-life dry round steak, I started off with a mouth-watering boneless beef rib-eye which makes my steak sandwiches worth the 10 minutes it takes to slice up and cook up those melt-in-your-mouth rib-eye strips.
Now that’s what I call working SMARTER, not harder. =D
Pan con Bistec – Cuban Steak Sandwich
2 Tbsp. Butter
2 Tbsp. Olive oil
1 large white onion, cut in half and sliced
1 24-inch loaf of Cuban bread (or your favorite baguette-type bread)
1 lb. Boneless beef rib-eye steak, sliced into 1/2 inch strips (this makes all the difference!)
Salt & pepper to taste
6 slices Swiss cheese (optional)
1) Slice the bread into four (or six) equal parts – depending on the size of sandwich you prefer.
2) In a large skillet, heat the butter and olive oil together and sauté the onion until slightly soft. Season with salt, remove cooked onions from skillet and set aside.
3) In the same skillet, over high heat, sear the steak strips until brown. About one minute per side. NOTE: Do not stir the meat. You want it brown. Use tongs or a fork to flip.
4) Season with salt, pepper, and parsley flakes.
5) Remove steak from heat.
6) Divide steak among your pre-sliced bread.
7) Cover the steak with onions and (if desired) a slice of Swiss cheese.
8 ) Spread a thin layer of butter on the outside of sandwich.
9) Press in a sandwich press (or you can even use a George Forman Grill).
Pretty smart, right?
By the way, If you’d like to follow me on Twitter, I’m Smrtqbn. =D
(previously posted on Babalú blog)