Cheesesteaks

If you don’t know by now, I’m from Philly – land of the cheesesteak, land of the soft pretzel, land of Wawa, land of Tastykakes.

We love our Philly food, especially the cheesesteak.  What I love about the cheesesteak is that you could ask 50 different people what their favorite cheesesteak shop is, and you would probably get about 25 unique answers.  As for me, I really love Jimmy G’s, D’Alessandro’s, and Ishkabibbles.  No, I don’t like Pat’s, or Geno’s, or even Jim’s.  Tony Luke’s used to be my favorite but since embarking on my cheesesteak adventure (search #cheesesteakadventure on Instagram), I have eaten so many delicious cheesesteaks that I never knew existed!  I have a bunch more on my list to try too!

Anyway.  Sometimes you just want to make one at home.  And I finally have perfected a recipe to my liking.

What are my secrets?

First – you gotta use Cooper Sharp American cheese.  I LOVE Cooper Sharp.  I love it on turkey sandwiches, egg sandwiches, grilled cheese, cheeseburgers – anything.  It’s great on cheesesteaks.  If you can’t find Cooper Sharp, regular American cheese will do.

Second – you gotta use a cast iron skillet.  It will sear your beef really well.

Third – you gotta use an authentic Amoroso’s roll.  I know they are pretty local to Philly so I’m not sure how far away you can get them – but if you can’t get them, make sure you find a nice soft Italian roll.  It should not be as firm as a baguette.  It should be hoagie length – about 10-12″ in length.

Fourth – you gotta let the cheese melt real good on top of the beef, and then sort of toss it all together to spread all that cheese throughout the steak chunks.  This is my number one pet peeve with cheesesteak shops is that they don’t do this.  The typical way they put together a cheesesteak is: they slice the roll open, they lay the cheese into the roll, then they flip the roll with the cold cheese upside down onto the hot cheesesteak meat on the griddle, and let it sit there for a minute.  Then they take their big spatula and slide it under the meat, put one hand on the upside-down roll, and in one swift motion they flip it all upright, so that now the beef is sitting on top of the cheese.  Well that’s great and easy, but now you only get cheese on part of the meat!  It is so much better when they flip the meat around and let the cheese get all melty into it.

Anyway enough with that.  On to the recipe!

Cheesesteaks
Makes 2 stuffed cheesesteaks or 3 average cheesesteaks

Ingredients
1 lb skirt steak
Salt & pepper
Cooking spray
4-6 slices Cooper Sharp cheese
2-3 Amoroso’s long Italian rolls
1/2 yellow onion, diced (optional)
Ketchup and mayo for topping (optional)

Directions
1. Slice skirt steak against the grain (as if crossing a ‘T’ against the grain) in very thin strips. Think shavings. If necessary, you could lay the skirt steak pieces onto a cutting board and stick them in a freezer for about an hour to firm it up to make slicing/shaving easier. Spread all the shavings across the cutting board and season liberally with salt and pepper.

2. Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Spray lightly with cooking spray. When the skillet is hot, add the diced yellow onion and saute until softened, just until the dices begin to brown around the edges. Remove from pan and set aside.

3. Turn the heat up on the skillet to medium-high. Add the skirt steak. Let it sear, then start pushing it around the pan to brown it on all sides. Once the meat is browned on all sides, turn the heat down to medium-low, and separate the meat into the number of cheesesteaks you will be serving. Push them into a long oval shape, so that you can scoop from the skillet to the roll easily. Once the meat is separated, add the diced onions to the top of the desired piles of meat, and place 2 slices of cheese on top of each little pile. Cover the skillet to let the cheese melt.

4. While the cheese is melting, slice the rolls open and scoop some of the bread out to hollow the roll out a little. At this point, if you’re adding ketchup and/or mayo to your cheesesteak, you can do so on the roll.

5. When the cheese is finished melting, using a large spatula, begin folding the meat over the cheese over and over to distribute the melted cheese throughout the meat. When distributed to your liking, scoop out of the skillet and onto your prepared roll. Cut the sandwich in half and devour promptly!

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