The Philly Cheesesteak Sandwich
Philadelphia’s most famous and iconic sandwich. Quite simply of the best classic American comfort foods out there. Thin slices of rib-eye beef, onions, peppers, cheese (Cheez-wiz or Provolone) on a dense chewy roll of bread. In fact, in Philadelphia, the sandwich is simply referred to as “The Cheese Steak”.
The invention of the Philly Cheesesteak goes back to the 1930s when Pat Olivieri, a hot dog vendor, threw chopped beef steak on his grill and added it to a hoagie roll, to make a sandwich. A passing cab driver asked for one, Pat sold it to him for 10 cents. After eating the steak sandwich, the cab driver suggested that Olivieri quit making hot dogs and instead focus on his new chopped beef and onions sandwich.
Pat, along with his brother Harry, began selling their new steak sandwiches at their stand near South Philadelphia’s famous Italian Market. The sandwich proved very popular. By 1940, the brothers had saved enough money to open a restaurant at the same spot where they had their stand, called Pat’s King of Steaks. The two brothers worked at the restaurant for 15 to 18 hours a day for the next few decades while the restaurant was open 24 hours a day, selling their popular steak sandwich.
But the key term here is “steak sandwich.” The cheese was not part of the original recipe. So, when did the cheese arrive at the party? Legend has it that an employee Tony Lorenzo, who was tired of the same old steak sandwich recipe, decided to add cheese. Almost 20 years later!
Thus in 1949, the cheesesteak sandwich that we know today was born in 1949.
Certain factors beyond the type of beef and cheese truly make a Philly cheesesteak. The quality of the roll is key to a cheesesteak connoisseur’s appreciation of the sandwich. Submarine rolls are the standard and ideal bread to use. It is not exactly crusty like a baguette but soft and slightly chewy.
Like most bread of a certain restricted locality, you may find yourself limited with selection, depending on where you are in the world. Amazing alternatives include Kaiser rolls or any other Italian/French sandwich rolls.
Treat yourself this week to an American sandwich classic. Find out why it’s a classic for a reason and why it has a big reputation as being a satisfier of hearty appetites. A recipe that even serious steak connoisseur search know that every bite is worth savouring.
What you’ll need:
Large Heavy-based Frying Pan
Ingredients: Serves 4
- 400g rib eye steak
- 2tbsp sunflower/vegetable oil
- 1 white onion
- 1 red pepper
- 1 green pepper
- 2tbsp white wine vinegar
- ½ teaspoon of Worcestershire sauce.
- ½ teaspoon of soy sauce.
- 8 cheese slices – Provolone. Or any other cheese of choice.
- 4 soft white sub rolls.
- Salt & pepper, to taste.
- American mustard and ketchup, to serve
Peppers & Onion:
- Heat the oil in a heavy-based pan or casserole dish set over medium heat.
- Add the onion and peppers along with a good pinch of salt and fry for 20 mins, or until the onions are golden and sticky.
- Add the vinegar and cook for a further 5 mins.
- Season to taste.
- Slice the rib eye steak as thinly as possible.
- Sprinkle beef with salt & pepper.
- Divide the slices into four portions.
- Put one portion of the steak slices in the pan in a pile that’s roughly the length of your rolls.
- Fry for 3 mins over high heat until some of the steak slices are cooked through, with some pink bits remaining.
- Add a quarter of the onion & pepper mixture on top and mix.
- Add the Worcestershire and soy sauce.
- Lay the cheese slices on top of the meat, onion and pepper mixture.
- Continue to cook everything undisturbed over medium heat for 5-10 mins until the meat is brown and crisp around the edge and the cheese has melted.
Bringing it all together:
- Split one of the rolls open and carefully scoop the meat and cheese mixture into it. Repeat with the remaining meat, onions, cheese and rolls.
- Drizzle sauce evenly over beef mixture; replace top halves.
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The word Tamahagane refers to the central core of a samurai sword which had to be both strong and outrageously sharp. Traditional Japanese swords were made from a material called Tamahagane; carbon steel smelted within a clay furnace.
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