I know that most people are going to think that I am nuts but…I am okay with that. Everyone knows that legends are legends for a reason. Take Pele, his performances on the soccer field (football for those European folk I know) are the stuff of legend. The same can be said of Bobby Orr, Wayne Gretzky, and a holy host of other sports stars. There are foods that are also legendary like Jaques Pepin’s Bouef Bourgignon, Julia Childs whole cookbook, or even Anthony Bourdain’s riffs on French cuisine. That is not to say that a person cannot do a wink and a nod to a legend, change some things and make it their own. I know I have done it and for the most part the recipes worked but the completed dishes were no where near on par with the legendary recipe from which I borrowed. There are some dishes that are so iconic that they need to remain as they are, or at least as close as possible. Philly Cheesesteaks are one of the dishes that I feel should always be true to the original. This sandwich has been around since the 1930’s when Pat Olivieri first grilled some beef at his hotdog stand and put it on a sandwich roll. Geno’s cheesesteak sandwiches came around in 1966 and there has been a rivalry ever since. Geno’s was the first to put Cheese Wiz on the roll before the beef and the result was, not to put too fine a point on it, legendary. So how did I come to want to pay homage to these legends? It was when I saw what was out there on Philly Cheesesteaks and the people making them. They were actually calling them Philly Cheesesteak and I was disheartened. They all looked okay but please, Hawaiian King rolls, hamburger slider buns or using, GASP! Steakums?!! I wanted to do a Cheesesteak slider that was as close to the original as possible and the result was a change in the type of bun and making sure that the steak was right. I loved how everything turned out and I hope you try them. Now for the recipe.
Ode to a Legend, (Philly Cheesesteak Sliders)
Gary Bechard – The Well Fed Cyclist
1.2 lbs – New York Strip Steak, sliced very thin
½ – Sweet onion, sliced very thin
½ – Red bell pepper, sliced very thin
½ – Green bell pepper, sliced very thin
1 tsp – Garlic, minced (you will use half for the meat and half for the vegetables)
1 tsp – Sea salt
1 tsp – Coarse ground black pepper
Extra virgin olive oil (a couple of turns around each of the pans)
6 – Chicago rolls
Vegetables – In a nice sauté pan (a ten inch should work), do a couple of turns around the pan with the olive oil and bring the pan to medium heat remembering that olive oil has a pretty low smoke point. First add the garlic to the oil and allow the garlic to soften. Next add the peppers and onions and sauté them until the onions are translucent and the peppers are soft.
Meat – In a slightly larger pan than used for the vegetables (one that will fit the vegetables and the meat in a bit), do a couple of turns around the pan with the olive oil and bring to heat. First add the garlic and soften, then add the meat and brown the slices all the way through. Season the meat with the salt and pepper while cooking.
Together – Take the vegetables and add them to the meat pan, complete with the juices, mix together, cover the pan and reduce the heat.
Take the buns and split each the long way like a sub roll (hoagie or grinder depending on which part of the country you are from), take a generous helping of the meat and vegetable mixture place on the rolls and add Cheese Wiz and serve.
These were served with a pasta salad with celery, green pepper, red pepper and carrots finished with lemon tarragon vinaigrette dressing.
The Well Fed Cyclist