Slowly but surely, I am falling for this sweet little sous-vide machine. The biggest headache when hosting a dinner, is making sure everything is ready at the exact same time. With a SousVide Supreme water bath, I can get all of my ducks in a row and the table set before finishing off the centerpiece protein. When you don’t need to slave over a grill for your meat anymore, it’s much easier to appreciate the additional benefits to this style of cooking. We were hosting Katie’s wonderful parents this past Sunday to play some board games, relax, and have a bite. With the sous-vide taking the pressure of my cooking, the meal came together rather quickly. (aside from some side smoking projects her father and I were testing out)
This recipe was bred out of a distinct craving I had been having the week prior. STEAK.
When brainstorming ideas for this sous-vide competition, I knew that I wanted to try something different. I wanted to do something that was familiar to me, steak sandwiches, and restructure it with exciting new components. Why a steak sandwich you ask?
First: You can eat with your hands.
Second: Sous-vide is the perfect mechanism to enhance an already great thing.
The hardest part about eating a steak sandwich is that you have to usually avoid big slices of meat due to what I like to call, the Chew-and-Pull factor. Many steak sandwiches these days are utilizing overcooked, greasy chopped steak so that it is easier to eat (and its totally delicious!). Sure you can make it with wide thin slices of steak, but you are at risk of a tough piece to CHEW, which may lead to PULL-ing it off the sandwich entirely. Growing up on steak sandwiches, I didn’t mind this issue at all. It feels primal, and my mom makes a mean sandwich. But we can do better. Thicker cuts of perfect medium rare-medium steak that melts when you bite into it is possible with the sous-vide method.
Why the addition of romesco you ask?
Recently I was watching an episode of No Reservations featuring my foodie man crush Anthony Bourdain and he was in Catalonia, Spain enjoying a breathtakingly simple, unique treat of roasted calçots dipped into luscious romesco sauce.
I was transfixed.
It was food porn overload and I simply had to try these flavors ASAP. Using my trusty Google, I sought out many recipes, some authentic to a T, others with unique and interesting tweaks. But by in large, it was a simple sauce.
THIS, I said to myself, I can make!
So, what is Romesco Sauce exactly?
Romesco (Catalan pronunciation: [ruˈmɛsku]) is a nut and red pepper-based sauce from Tarragona, Catalonia, Spain. It is typically made from any mixture of roasted or raw almonds, pine nuts, and/or hazelnuts, roasted garlic, olive or sunflower oil, bitxo peppers (similar to New Mexico chiles) and/or nyora peppers (a small, round, variety of red bell pepper). Flour or ground stale bread may be used as a thickener or to provide texture. Other common ingredients include roasted tomatoes, red wine vinegar and onions.
This garlicky smokey sauce has tons of variations and many uses, and this recipe is utilizing it as an overqualified sandwich spread! Most traditional recipes will use blanched and peeled nuts, but I find that I don’t notice the skins at all once its all pureed together, so I have omitted those steps. If you are able to find peeled almonds and hazelnuts, then by all means use them
This sandwich may seem like a lot of work, but I promise you that the flavors and textures are beautiful together. I will be making this again this summer without a doubt!
Funny story about this post. I was having an internal battle as to whether to include one more key ingredient to the sandwich that I neglected accidentally when putting the photo shoot together, and later, after realizing my mistake, added on to the sandwich when eating time came. It wont be visible in any picture, but trust me when I say that gorgonzola was a perfect funky accompaniment to this rich Mediterranean summer sandwich, and I highly recommend its inclusion if you make it at home. (That is of course if you enjoy a good stinky cheese like me!)
- 2 large red peppers
- 1 ripe tomato
- 4 cloves chopped garlic
- 1/3 cup slivered almonds (sliced or whole works just as well, this is just what I had on hand)
- 1/4 cup hazelnuts (roughly 20)
- 2 tsp smoked paprika
- 2 Tbsp + 1/3 cup olive oil
- 2 Tbsp red wine vinegar
- 3/4 cup of cubed day old bread
- In a large frying over medium heat or a 350 degree oven, mix together the almonds, hazelnuts, bread, garlic, 2 tablespoons of olive oil and the smoked paprika. Toast everything thoroughly until lightly browned and fragrant.
- On the grill or over an open flame (i.e. gas burner), roast and blister the red peppers and tomato.
- Once the peppers are blistered, remove from the fire and place into a plastic bag to steam for 3-5 minutes. This will help loosen the scorched skin. Remove the slightly steamed peppers and gentle scrape and peel away the charred skin. Next, remove the pepper’s cap and the seeds.
- Chop the peeled roasted pepper remains and the fire roasted tomato into smaller pieces.
- In a food processor, first pulse and finely crumble/chop the toasted bread and nut pieces (If using a blender, its best to remove this chopped mash before blending the roasted veggies). Throw in the roasted red pepper, tomato, 1/3 cup of olive oil and the red wine vinegar and pulse until you can start pureeing the sauce entirely. Taste and adjust salt and olive oil levels for flavor and texture. Once its its ready it should look something like this. An ever so slightly thicker version than the traditional sauce is your end game here, this will help ensure it works as a hearty spread on the sandwich.
SousVide Steak Sandwich Ingredients:
- 1-2 lb flank steak
- 4 ciabatta rolls
- 1 bunch green/spring onions
- 1/2 cup romesco sauce
- 1 Tbsp smoked paprika
- 1 Tbsp kosher salt
- 2 tsp fresh cracked pepper
- 4 Tbsp olive oil
- 1 small wedge of gorgonzola cheese
SousVide Steak Sandwich Directions:
- First step is to prep and clean your flank steaks. Trim away any visible or unseemly fat and gently rinse under cold water then pat dry. Sprinkle some salt and pepper on the steaks and place in a vacuum bag, suck the air out and seal it. Preheat the SousVide water bath to 133-135 degrees (Medium Rare, 56.5*C).
- Once the water is up to temperature, gently drop your steaks in, and let them cook for anywhere from 12-24 hours. (The extended period of time here is crucial to meltingly tender steak, that when cut against the grain are as easy to chew through as deli sliced cold cuts!)
- I cooked mine for 18 hours in the water bath. About an 30 mins before you’re ready to pull the steaks out, get the rest of your steak sandwich building station prepped and grill fired up (about 375-400 degrees). Slice your ciabatta rolls into sandwich halves and brush some olive oil on them. Lightly toss your green onions in some olive oil, salt and pepper.
- Once the grill grates are pre-heated, toast your bread and lightly char the onions.
Prepped and ready for steak!
- Once your sandwich parts are ready to go, retrieve your steak from the water bath and remove it from the bag. Gently pat dry with paper towels and lightly brush with some olive oil to aid in browning on the grill. Lightly dust with smoked paprika, kosher salt and fresh cracked pepper and toss it on the hot grill.
- Once a good crust has formed, 2-3 minutes per side, remove from the grill and let it rest for a few minutes. Once rested, and juices have redistributed, thinly slice the steaks against the grain for tender bites!
- This is the fun part, go ahead and build your sandwich! You’ve earned it!
PS. For a refreshing and tasty side, I added some grilled pineapple. Tastes like summer to me!