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  • 1 large bunch fresh Italian parsley
  • 2 tablespoons fresh oregano leaves
  • 3 garlic cloves, peeled
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon chipotle hot pepper sauce
  • 2 NY strip steaks
  • 8 ounces mixed baby greens
  • 1 12-ounce container marinated small fresh mozzarella balls, drained
While steak heats, combine parsley, oregano, and garlic in processor; blend 10 seconds. Add 1/2 cup oil, vinegar, and hot pepper sauce; blend until almost smooth. Season dressing to taste with salt and pepper.
Cook steak over a hot grill or pan sear over high heat until done to your taste.
Thinly slice steak and serve over salad greens with mozzarella balls and chimichurri dressing.

I’ve only had a very few outstanding sandwiches in my life–the Vietnamese grilled pork on baguette at Pho Que Huong on Green Springs, and the Cuban steak sandwich from Little Miami in Lake City, Florida–and this is one of them. The combination of fresh bread, salad, yogurt, feta, and meat is sublime. As an added bonus, the leftover spread can be thinned with a couple of tablespoons of olive oil and some lemon juice to make a great salad dressing for the remaining romaine and feta.

For the spread:

  • ¾ cup crumbled feta cheese (4 ounces)
  • 3 heaping Tbs Greek-style yogurt
  • Juice of 1/2 a lemon
  • 2 tsp dried oregano
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • ¼ tsp freshly ground black pepper

For the sandwich:

  • 4 pita breads
  • 4 large leaves romaine lettuce, torn in half
  • 1 cucumber, sliced into half moons
  • ¼ cup fresh mint leaves, coarse chiffonade
  • Sliced meat (we used steak, but grilled pork would also be good)

Combine all spread ingredients in a small mixing bowl, and mix with a fork. In each pita, put a schmear of spread, then add a couple of slices of meat, some cucumber, mint, and a lettuce leaf. Yum! (I’ve read that a couple of slices of tomato and red onion make a fine vegetarian version, but haven’t confirmed.)

There’s this Vietnamese restaurant in Birmingham called Pho Que Huong, and they make a grilled pork sandwich that’s phenomenal–grilled pork, cucumbers, cilantro, jalepenos, and mayo on French bread. Until today, I thought it was The Sandwich, but now I know better.

You see, today we stopped at Little Miami in Lake City, Fla., and had the Little Miama Steak Sandwich. It has grilled steak, grilled plantains, grilled onions, what may have been shoestring potatoes, and I’m not sure what else, all on Cuban bread, pressed and grilled. I’ve never tasted anything like it. If you’re ever near exit 427 on I-75 in Florida, it’s about a half mile west of the interstate–don’t miss it.

Grass-fed beef has a stringer flavor than feedlot beef, so sometimes a bit of sauce can help. Here, we also used some farmhouse cheese we picked up at Sweet Home Farms in Baldwin county, Alabama.

1 grass-fed steak, 1 inch thick
blue cheese
red wine

Salt the steak on both sides with coarse sea salt and let rest at room temperature for one hour.

Preheat cast iron skillet over high heat for 4 minutes. Add a teaspoon or two of butter, and when it melts, add steak. brown for 2 minutes on the first side, then turn and brown 2 minutes on the second side. Turn heat to medium and brown 2 more minutes each side.

Add enough red wine to come halfway up the steaks, then cover and reduce heat to low. Braise 5 to 10 more minutes until done to your liking.

Remove steak to a cutting board and tent with foil. Let rest for 10 minutes. Meanwhile, turn heat to high and stir wine with a spatula to deglaze the pan; keep boiling until reduced to a syrup.

Slide the steak, crumble blue cheese on top, and pour sauce over the cheese.

We served it with steamed okra from the farmer’s market tossed with a little butter.

Steak and Scaffata

Originally uploaded by ted_major

Tuscaloosa has a wonderful new local and organic framer’s market, and I picked up some organic fava beans from Snow’s Bend Farm, as well as some fresh English peas. Never having cooked fava beans before, I turned to epicurious, where I found a wonderful recipe for braised spring legumes that goes wonderfully with grilled steak.

  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 6 scallions, white and tender parts sliced
  • 1 small sweet sping onion, chopped
  • 2 pounds fresh peas in the pod, shelled
  • 2 pounds fresh fava beans in the pod, shelled
  • 1 cup diced zucchini
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • Salt
  • 2 cups thinly shredded romaine leaves
  • 1 tablespoon finely shredded fresh mint leaves
  • 2 New York strip steaks, approximately 1/2 lb. each.

Salt each side of the steaks with coarse salt and set aside at room temperature while you prepare the peas and beans. Preheat the grill.

In a heavy dutch oven with a tight lid, sautee the scallions and onions in olive oil until soft, about 4 minutes. Add peas, beans, zucchini, and red pepper, and reduce heat to low. Stir, cover, and cook about 15 minutes.

Add romaine and mint, stir, and cover, Cook an additional 30 or 40 minutes until the beans are cooked but not mushy.

While the peas & beans finish cooking, grill the steaks over high heat, until done to your liking. Tent with foil, let rest about 10 mins, and then slice diagonally. Each steak should serve 2 people–dinner for 4 or dinner and lunch the next day for 2.

  • 1/2 lb. leftover steak
  • 1 oz. dried porcini mushrooms
  • 28 oz. can fire-roasted crushed tomatoes
  • Olive oil
  • salt, to taste
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 tsp. oregano (fresh if you have it)
  • 1/4 cup red wine
  • 1 lb. pasta of your choice (we used linguine)
  • Freshly grated Parmesan

Reconstitute mushrooms in hot water for a few minutes, then remove from liquid (leaving sediment behind) and chop.

Chop steak finely.

Heat a large skillet over medium heat, then add olive oil and saute garlic until golden. Add ‘shrooms and steak and saute until heated through. Add crushed tomatoes, oregano, wine, and salt. Bring to a simmer and reduce heat.

While sauce simmers, heat a large pot of water and cook pasta until done. Drain and plate up the pasta. Spoon sauce over pasta, and serve with freshly grated parm.