March 25, 2009

sandwich melt Italian style

Sandwich melt assembly (above) shows the freshly baked whole wheat hero or bun with sauteed sliced mushrooms, red onions, red and green bell peppers piled on top of nicely browned thinly sliced beef then topped with grated cheese before broiling.

This sandwich, which we had for a simple middle of the week dinner, is actually an Italian version of the Philly cheese steak. It had the same basic beef filling but with an Italian style vegetable topping. It started with a small package of lean sirloin beef, sliced very thinly across the grain. I marinated this for a couple of hours in some soy sauce, salt, ground pepper and lemon juice mixture. While the meat was marinating in the fridge, I sliced some red and green bell peppers, fresh mushrooms, red onions then minced two cloves of garlic. The beef slices were browned in a little olive oil until most of the liquid has evaporated. Transfer the cooked beef in a plate or bowl. Sautee the minced garlic in the drippings in the same skillet, adding more olive oil if needed. Then add the onions, peppers and mushrooms. Season with Italian seasoning, salt and pepper. Cook for a few minutes until the vegetables are half cooked. Set side to cool. In the meantime, slice the hotdog buns or heros. These may be store-bought but I always make fresh bread for sandwiches like these, so that I can incorporate more whole wheat flour in the dough. I just use my basic roll recipe, adding more whole wheat than regular bread flour. Going back to the sandwich assembly, I brushed the bread or rolls with olive oil before piling the beef on top. Then I topped them with the sauteed vegetables and a generous amount of grated mozzarella cheese. These sandwiches may be assembled hours ahead, covered and kept in the fridge. About 10-15 minutes before serving time, broil the sandwiches to melt the cheese and toast the bread a bit. These sandwich melts were a great addition to our weekly menu. I could have made them saucier with more beef gravy and mixed the cheese with some of the melting kind. Anyway, I will be making them again, that's for sure.

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