We like to stay modern, and right now the trendiest thing on Food Network is to pervert another region’s dishes and call them yours. This is how Jersey diners have become popular in Texas and why grits exist in California. Effed up.
This isn’t really a cheesesteak. It is a steak sandwich with cheese and deep fried onions on a pretzel bun. However, neither of us are from Philly (who we all know the Blackhawks beat at last year’s Stanley cup, which I will rub in wherever possible), we don’t really care that we completely bastardized the cheesesteak by using the wrong cheese and the wrong bun and probably the wrong meat.
But it’s just the right amount of wrong.
Pretzel Cheesesteaks with Crispy Onion Straws
1 lb ribeye steak, sliced super thin
Cheese (white cheddar, provolone if you’re a purist, shredded mozzarella if you have grocery issues)
4 large pretzel buns
Salt & pepper
Crispy Onion Straws (adapted from The Pioneer Woman)
1 large sweet onion
2 cups buttermilk
2 cups flour
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
Ground black pepper
1-2 quarts canola oil
45 minutes before you want to start cooking, peel the onion and slice it into papery thin slices. Put all the onions in a baking dish and pour 2 cups of buttermilk over them. Refrigerate the onion dish and put the wrapped steak in the freezer.
After 45 minutes, heat the canola oil in a big dutch oven. Mix the flour, salt, pepper, and cayenne. Dredge a small batch of the onions in the flour mixture. You can tell the oil is ready if a test onion fries brown on contact. Supposedly you can measure this to 375° but… we don’t do that and it was fine. If it’s ready, throw the batch of breaded onions in and toss around in oil until crunchy. Place them on a paper towel to absorb the fattitude you have just created. Repeat again and again.
Take the steak out of the freezer and slice in superthin slices (this should be easy since it’s cold). Heat some oil in a pan and brown the meat. Slice the buns open and heat for a few minutes in the toaster oven. Pile the cooked meat into little stacks in the pan and top with cheese and half the bun. Cook a few more seconds, until the cheese melts, and add to the bottom bun. You can do this under the broiler/in a toaster oven if you feel unconventional. Lift the top bun off and add the onion straws.
Serve with (several) Lagunitas IPAs, ideally during a marathon of old Criminal Minds episodes airing simultaneously on both A&E and Ion Television Network. Try to forget that the lead agent in half the episodes is the same guy who played Inigo Montoya, and that by doing this you fall into the target advertising demographic for Depends and funeral insurance.
THE MORE YOU KNOW.