I come from a family of pedants and debaters (only true pedants use words like ‘pedant’). I think something embedded deep in our familial psyche forces us to compete with one another to prove who is the most correct of all the corrections—probably in order to be christened the favorite child of seven. This makes for some super-fun holiday dinners.
In this particularly malnourished environment of one-upmanship, nothing’s worse than staking your reputation on an argument that’s actually wrong. Halfway through outlining your point as to why Myanmar was never formerly known as Burma (clearly it’s Madagascar that changed its name), or, yes, indeed, that it was Bill Pullman smelling dirt to predict a tornado in Twister, you inwardly realize how completely and unequivocally wrong you are. Like so wrong you want to erase the last minute of vociferous arguing, change your name, move to Madagascar, and come back in ten years as someone who might actually be right.
Now the converse of being so wrong that your face discovers a new color of shame is the transcendent time you’re actually right: birds singing, trumpets blaring, angels dropping it to the floor kind of a vibe. I’d buy that feeling if you could bottle it, and below I’m offering you a reasonable facsimile. This steak sandwich slathered in blue cheese sauce is so perfect that I don’t even care that my brother’s shoving Bill Paxton’s IMDb page right in my face. In fact, it’s messy enough that I can make quite a show of eating it as my face turns back from purple to puce to pink. It’s so juicy and perfect, wonderfully balanced by the peppery arugula and creamy sauce. I’d make a whole bunch of mistakes if it meant I got to eat this sandwich later.
And what’s that about blue cheese sauce? The best damn sauce to have ever dressed a steak sandwich, you say? Well, dear reader, You. Are. Right (and apparently I rarely admit that). It alone merits some zen-like transcendence, and with steak, nirvana. Smells like teen spirit to be sure—especially if your teenager hasn’t bathed in a while. I’ve yet to serve this sandwich with a side because it’s so good that I forget to make a complete meal, but the next time I’m visiting home I plan to feed it to my whole family.
And the only argument I’ll hear is who gets the last piece.
- 1 pound of steak (I prefer New York Strip, Rib-eye, or Sirloin)
- 1 tablespoon coarse salt
- 1 tablespoon coarse black pepper
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
- 2 tablespoons butter
- ¼ red onion sliced
- 2 soft rolls, or one long roll
- 2 cups arugula
- ½ cup mayonnaise
- 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
- 2 teaspoons fresh horseradish
- ½ cup crumbled blue cheese
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon pepper
- Place all the sauce ingredients in a bowl and mix until combined. Refrigerate until ready to assemble sandwiches.
- Minutes before cooking, pull the steak out of the fridge, pat dry with paper towels and rest on a plate.
- In a small bowl, combine the coarse salt and pepper and then spread half on the top of the steak. Press down, ensuring as much salt and pepper saturates the meat as possible. Flip the steak over and repeat on the opposite side.
- Preheat the oven to 400F.
- When ready to cook, place a cast iron skillet over high heat. Make sure the pan is very hot before adding the vegetable oil. Add the oil, heat for 20-30 seconds, and then add the steak. If you have a fatty steak, start with the fatty side for cooking, so you can render the fat. Cook for two minutes on that side, and then flip the steak and cook for another two minutes.
- Dress the steak with two tablespoons of butter and then stick the whole cast iron in the oven. Depending on how done you like your steak, as well as how thick it is, you will cook for 3-10 minutes. This is a wide range of time, but we find each time we make our steaks, it takes about 3-5 minutes to reach medium rare color and the interior to read 130 degrees.
- Take the steak out of the oven and remove to a plate. Tent with aluminum foil and let it rest for 10 minutes.
- In these ten minutes, place the cast iron skillet you cooked the steak in back on the stove and turn the heat to medium. Add the sliced red onion and cook for five minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Toast the bread if you like by slicing it in half and placing it on a sheet pan. Place in the oven and cook for 5-7 minutes or until the tops have toasted.
- Once the steak has rested, cut it against the grain into slices. We like thick slices, but you can go thinner if you prefer.
- Spread the bleu cheese sauce on both sides of the bread, lay the arugula on the bottom half, and then arrange the steak over the arugula. Top with red onion and any extra sauce you may have or additional crumbled bleu cheese. Serve immediately.