Philly Cheese Steak Sandwich
In New Orleans, the poor boy is the king of the sliced beef sandwiches. Nevertheless, at various times some hopeful restaurateur, exiled here from the Northeast, will attempt to offer a Philadelphia-style cheese steak sandwich here. It’s shaped like and otherwise resembles a roast beef poor boy, but the flavor is completely different.
Talk with anyone from Philly, and you learn that the formula for making one of these sandwiches is set in stone, and any variation leads to perdition. Given that one of the standard ingredients for Philly cheese steak is Cheez-Whiz right out of the jar, and that every cheese steak I’ve had up there is different from all the others, I don’t hesitate to make my own adjustments. The main one involves using rare deli roast beef instead of sliced raw round (supermarkets don’t like to slice raw beef, and you need a meat slicer to get it thin enough). We are stuck with using French bread instead of the special Italian loaves they have in Philly, but that’s no great loss. Finally, of course, the Cheez-Whiz has to go, in favor of provolone.
- 1 tbs. vegetable oil
- 1 medium onion, sliced as thin as you can
- 1/2 green or red bell pepper, seeds and membrane removed, sliced thin
- 1 tsp. Creole seasoning (or salt and pepper)
- 1/2 lb. rare deli roast beef, sliced thin
- 1/2 loaf poor boy bread or French baguettes
- 6 medium slices provolone cheese
- Creole mustard
Preheat the oven to 250 degrees.
1. Heat a griddle over medium-high heat long enough to get it good and hot. With a metal spatula, spread the oil around on the hot surface. Scatter the onions and bell peppers on the griddle. Sprinkle with Creole seasoning.
2. Cook the onions and bell peppers until they’re soft and lightly browned here and there. Move them off to the cool side of the griddle.
3. Spread the slices of beef out over the hot part of the griddle. Using a second metal spatula, hold the beef down while using the other spatula to scrape across the beef, causing it to shred away. Cook until all the pink is gone from the meat.
4. Lower the heat to almost nothing. Bring the onions and peppers back to the hot part of the griddle, spread it out, and deposit the beef on top of it. Cover the whole pile with the slices of provolone cheese. Leave it there until it softens, but not until it melts.
5. While waiting for that, slice the bread from end to end and put it into the oven.
6. Spread a very little bit of Creole mustard over one side of the bread. Moved the cheese, meat, peppers and onions onto the bread, and cover with the other half. Serve immediately.
Serves two to four.