Steak Sandwich with Roasted Garlic Aïoli Worthy of a Pedestal (With Caesar Salad Waiting in the Wings)

May 25, 2011
Author Notes

Let it be simple so it's all about the flavors: roasted garlic, lemon, olive oil, rosemary, grilled steak, sweet onions, fire-toasted rolls slathered generously with a rich, custardy aïoli worthy of a pedestal all its own.

As for the leftovers of both the steak and the aïoli, the latter is just a few ingredients shy of Caesar Salad Dressing. Go ahead and transform it and serve your remaining steak over a beautiful salad for lunch the next day. - boulangere —boulangere

Test Kitchen Notes

This might seem like a recipe for a simple steak sandwich, but boulangere has loaded it with smart tweaks that elevate it to pedestal-worthy. She quick-roasts the garlic in a skillet, shaving off prep time and saving us from cranking up the oven. The buns dipped in marinade, then grilled, are a genius new way to layer flavor into sandwiches -- just don't let them sop up too much: there's a fine line between luscious and soggy, and you'll want plenty left for that handsome steak. - kristen miglore —Kristen Miglore

  • Serves 2 with leftovers
  • The Steak and the Sandwich
  • Zest and juice of 2 lemons, strained
  • 4 ounces olive oil
  • 2 sprigs fresh rosemary, leaves stripped and chopped, twigs retained
  • 2 good sandwich rolls
  • 1 flank or flatiron steak
  • Sea or kosher salt
  • Fresh ground pepper
  • 1 yellow or red onion, halved and peeled, very thin sliced
  • Roasted Garlic Aïoli
  • 2 heads garlic smashed and peeled
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 12 ounces canola or other neutral flavored oil
  • 4 ounces fruity olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon sea or kosher salt
  • Juice of 1 lemon, strained
In This Recipe
  1. Preheat oven to 250 degrees.
  2. Light a charcoal fire. Alternatively, fire up a gas grill.
  3. Add marinade ingredients to a shallow, non-reactive container. BEFORE you drop in the steak, first cut open your rolls, flatten them, and press them into the marinade. Remove and save for last. Now drop steak into marinade. Turn over every 10 minutes.
  4. Begin preparing aïoli by roasting garlic. Measure olive oil into a skillet and add smashed cloves of 2 heads of garlic. Bring to medium-high heat and when they just begin to sizzle, reduce to very low heat and cover skillet. Set a timer (please! there's a lot of multi-tasking going on here and you don't want to forget the garlic and let it get too done, or worse, burn. . . . like my first batch) for 5 minutes. By that time, the downside of the cloves should be a lovely golden brown. Turn them all over with tongs, cover skillet again, and set timer for another 5 minutes. By the time the timer goes off, all cloves should be an even golden brown. Remove the skillet from the heat. Scoop the cloves out of the skillet and into the bowl of a food processor. Add salt and purée. With processor running, drop in yolks one at a time, letting each be incorporated for a few second before adding the next. Patience. Begin adding the canola oil in 1-ounce increments: use a tablespoon from your best silver - you're making something precious - dropping one spoonful at a time until you're down to 6 ounces remaining. At that point, with processor still running, add remaining oil in a slow, steady stream. Add olive oil from skillet in which garlic was roasted, also in a slow, steady stream, followed by lemon juice. You will have a thick, rich, custardy aïoli that you will be tempted to eat straight away. Restrain yourself, but taste, oh please taste, and adjust salt and pepper as you wish. Scrape from the food processor bowl into a jar you can refrigerate.
  5. Prepare the onion of your choice and spread the curls out onto a baking sheet. When coals have reached a good red-hot stage, spread them out into an even layer. Place steak on grill. Leave top open and grill for 3 minutes. Pick up steak with a pair of tongs and rotate 90 degrees, creating a diamond pattern of grill marks on the down side. Grill for 3 minutes more. Turn steak over. Throw your reserved rosemary twigs plus two more stalks into the fire. Close the lid with top and bottom vents open. Grill for 5 minutes. Remove steak to the baking sheet, placing it on top of the curls of sliced onion, and transfer to the oven. Finish steak in the oven to your desired degree of doneness, and if that is beyond medium-rare, please don't feel the need to tell me about it.
  6. While steak is finishing in the oven, place sandwich rolls face down on the grill until warmed through and marked with lovely caramelized marks.
  7. Remove steak from oven and transfer to a cutting board. Slice across the grain ( for perfect sandwich tenderness) into 1/4" thick slices. Spread your grilled rolls on both halves with your heavenly aïoli. Arrange some onion curls now saturated with some good drippings on both halves. Next, arrange several slices of steak on one half. Add nothing else. Let this be all about you and these heavenly flavors.
  8. And when was the last time you served yourself dinner on a pedestal, cake or otherwise? Indulge.
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