Friday, June 29, 2012

Blackened Steak Sandwiches

Why is it that grilling is typically portrayed as a "man's job"?  Is there really something so inherently manly about cooking food over a flame?  I cook over a flame every time I use my gas stove.  Can there be that much of a difference between that type of cooking and throwing a steak on the grill that makes people think only a man should be grilling my dinner?
It's a question I've pondered quite a bit lately.  I watched my 7 year old son become absolutely transfixed and obsessed with tending to our campfire a few weekends ago.  I know for sure my husband's favorite part of camping is getting that fire going (and I'm definitely NOT allowed to do the cooking over that flame!).  I muttered my thoughts aloud as we were roasting marshmallows and our friends laughed at me while reminding me that fire is in every man's genes.
It's possible that there is some genetic component to it all.  My husband used to love to grill.  When we were first married he was the official steak grillmaster in the family.  And I happily handed him the patter of seasoned steaks to do with as he wished over that open flame. But somewhere along the way that changed.  For me, it's more about controlling how my food turns out than using the grill.  I became less willing to relinquish control over the outcome of my food as I became more confident in my cooking.  And perhaps it's also a matter of taste.  If it were up to my hubby, our dinner would be coated in a thick layer of Montreal steak seasoning instead of lovely things like meyer lemons and goat cheese.
Since I've taken over the grilling duties, I've come to love it.  I grill practically every day in the summer months and have even been known to cook on the grill during a rainy Seattle November because my kitchen was being renovated.  I've learned its hotspots, how to turn on the one burner that will never light properly, and where to place the veggies I want to slowly cook and not just scorch.  You'd be amazed what you can cook on a grill- you can even use your everyday pots and pans on it or use your grill to roast your Thanksgiving turkey!  My grill is one of my favorite cooking tools right up there next to my beloved 5 quart Le Creuset pot.
Blackened Steak Sandwiches
Serves 4.  Rub recipe adapted from Bon Apetit, September 2000.
For a printable version, click here.

Since I've taken over the grill, this has become a regular on our dinner table.  Everyone loves it!  The beauty of this sandwich is that it's extremely inexpensive, very easy to prepare and everyone can put it together the way they like.  It's a great meal for serving a crowd (hello, 4th of July BBQ!).  Our favorite toppings include roasted red peppers and home made blue cheese dressing.  I made some home-baked potato chips to go with it on this particular evening.  For the recipe check out this link.

2 lbs of sirloin steaks
2 tbs paprika
1 tbs ground black pepper
1 tbs kosher salt
2 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp dried thyme
1/2 tsp cayenne
3 tbs melted and cooled butter

Take the steaks out of the refrigerator about 1/2 hour before you intend to grill them.  Mix together the rub ingredients in a small bowl.  Liberally sprinkle the rub over both sides of the steaks, pressing the rub in as you go.  Let the steaks rest on the counter for 25-30 minutes. 

When you are ready to grill, pour the melted butter over both sides of the steaks.  Grill them over medium high heat for 5-6 minutes per side for medium.  Don't get too worried if the steaks get quite dark- they're blackened after all.  But do watch for flare-ups.   That butter tends to drip and cause flames that will burn your steaks.  So don't walk away!  Let the steaks rest for 5 minutes after taking them off the grill.

Thinly slice the steaks and serve on toasted sandwich rolls with roasted red peppers and blue cheese dressing.

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