For those of you who know me, you might be a bit shocked to hear I’m getting a bit hyped up for the Super Bowl game coming up this weekend. Well, it’s true. These days, if I want some “quality time” with my 15-year-old, it’s in front of a TV watching sports. So, #deflategate and all, I’m all in. Lets go, Pats! I even have a football-inspired recipe to share with you. More on that in a bit.
My son is not the only football-crazed person in my life. My good friend and walking partner, Linda Marino, is also a huge fan (the kind that doesn’t just watch her hometown team in the Super Bowl). Linda also happens to be a very talented chef and is the co-owner of the acclaimed catering company, La Bonne Maison. (For any Boston area people out there reading this— if you need a caterer, she’s your top draft pick.)
Linda and I walk several times a week and according to my new exercise wristband, last week we clocked about 15 miles. I would say that for about 14 of them we talked about food and during the other mile we fit in all the rest. She is constantly inspiring me. I can’t tell you how many cooking tips and ideas I learn from her…and we bond on a deeper foodie level. Not the fluffy, romantic stuff that entices and lures people into the industry, but the hard, nitty-gritty reality of it all—the burns on the arms and the long hours on your feet (just to name a few). Throw raising kids into the pot, and, well, we’re in the same zone.
So, what does a chef make for game day eats? I can tell you that Linda doesn’t play around. Take, for example, this delicious steak sandwich she cooked for me for last week’s playoff game. This is no ordinary steak and cheese sub. None of that shaved, dryish, chewy meat. She goes for the goal line with beef tenderloin. Yup, that’s right, I said beef tenderloin. It might seem a bit extravagant, but it’s so, so good. You bite into the crusty bread and it simply gives way to perfectly cooked medium-rare meat that is tender and succulent. Oozy melted cheese and sweet and tangy A-1 onions add the extra point, but it’s the steak that is the quarterback of this game. Add some home made potato chips and you’ve got what I call a comfort food champion of a meal. Touchdown!
Steak & Cheese Bombs with A1-Onions
Trimmed (or peeled) beef tenderloins are sold with the outer layer of fat and silver skin already removed. Although trimmed tenderloins are convenient and can save time, I prefer to save money and do the work myself. The savings is significant, about $11 to $13 per pound. Click here for steps in trimming your own beef.
- 4 pounds trimmed beef tenderloin, cut into thirds crosswise and tied
- Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
- 4 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 large sweet onions, cut in half and sliced into ¼ inch thick half moons
- 1½ tablespoons A1 steak sauce
- 4 ounces shredded Munster cheese
- 4 ounces shredded Monteray Jack cheese
- 2 large baguettes, sliced in half lengthwise
- Sprinkle roast with 2 tablespoons salt, tie each piece of tenderloin to maintain even shape, spacing twine at 2-inch intervals. Wrap loins in plastic wrap, and let stand at room temperature, 1 hour or refrigerate for up to 24 hours. Adjust oven rack to upper-middle position and heat oven to 375°F.
- Pat tenderloins dry with paper towels and sprinkle evenly with pepper. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large, oven-safe skillet over medium-high heat until just smoking. Sear tenderloin until well browned on all sides, 5 to 7 minutes. Transfer pan to oven and cook until center of roasts registers to 115 to 120°F for rare (meat will cook further when in subs), about 20 to 25 minutes. Transfer steaks to cooling rack placed in a rimmed baking sheet. Tent with foil and let rest for 20 minutes.
- Meanwhile, heat remaining 3 tablespoons oil in large non-stick or cast iron skillet until shimmering. Add onions and cook until onions are lightly browned but not too soft, about 8 minutes. Remove from heat, stir in steak sauce and season with salt and pepper.
- Slice meat into ¼ inch slices. Divide meat onto bottom side of baguettes. Season with salt and pepper. Top with onions and cheese and place top of baguette on top. Cut baguettes in half crosswise. Place on baking sheet and bake in oven until cheese is melted and baguette is crusty and lightly browned, about 10 minutes.
- ¾ pound Yukon gold potatoes (about 2 large), sliced 1/8-inch thick on a mandolin slicer
- 2 quarts canola or peanut oil
- Kosher salt
- Pat potatoes dry on paper towels. Line a baking sheet with mounds of bunched up paper towels and set aside.
- Heat oil in Dutch oven to 375°F. Add about 15 slices of potato and cook, stirring and flipping potatoes with wire mesh spider or slotted spoon to keep them from sticking together, until the potatoes are browned and crisp, about 2 minutes.
- Transfer potatoes to prepared baking sheet with paper towels and sprinkle with salt. Bring oil back to temperature and repeat with next batch of potatoes. Repeat until you have fried all the chips.
- Transfer drained potatoes to serving bowl and enjoy.