Posts Tagged ‘sandwich’

Well, it took a while, but I finally completed all of Alton’s recipes for an entire butchered beef tenderloin. In “Tender is the Loin I,”  Alton showed how to butcher a whole tenderloin into cuts to be used in five different recipes. You cut the loin into four filets, a center cut roast, a head roast, a tip portion, and a chain.

In addition to the butchering in that first tenderloin episode, he also demonstrated a recipe for the filets from the tenderloin. As I mentioned before, for some reason, a cocktail episode aired in between the two tenderloin episodes, which was an odd decision. Here are the recipes for the remaining cuts from the beef tenderloin.

Center Cut Tenderloin Roast

The center cut roast from the tenderloin is used first in the second episode. This cut of meat should weigh 1 to 1 1/4 pounds. For this recipe, place 1 1/2 t Kosher salt, 1 1/2 t pepper, and 1 t cumin in a loaf pan.


Kosher salt, pepper, and cumin.

Set the roast in the spices and toss it around to coat on all sides. Let the roast sit at room temperature for 30 minutes to one hour.

After resting, place a grill pan over high heat for five to seven minutes. Sprinkle the pan with Kosher salt, as this will make it easier to clean later. Sprinkle vegetable oil over the roast and turn it with tongs to coat. Place the roast at the front of the grill pan and gradually roll the roast from the front to the back of the pan, searing for about eight minutes total on all sides.

Transfer the roast from the grill pan to a metal baking pan and let it sit for 10-15 minutes.


Seared roast placed in metal pan.

While the roast sits, preheat the oven to 250 degrees. Place the roast back on the grill pan place it in the oven with a probe thermometer in its center. Cook the roast until the probe thermometer says 135 degrees.

Remove the roast from the oven, wrap it in foil, and let it rest for 30 minutes before slicing.


Roast wrapped in foil for 30 minutes.


Alton’s center cut tenderloin roast.

This roast was so easy and was perfectly cooked. I typically use some sort of sauce with beef, but I found that this roast was flavorful enough on its own. The outside of the roast had a spice-filled crust, while the inside of the roast was juicy and tender. This is a roast you could easily make any day of the week and any meat-eater would certainly enjoy this.

Stuffed Roast

To follow the center cut roast, Alton prepped his recipe for the small head roast (1 to 1.5 lb) portion of the loin. I prepared this for dinner on Father’s Day. To begin, slice open the head roast, creating a pocket. Open the roast and place a few more slices internally, slicing it “like a book.” Brush the inside of the roast with olive oil and season it with Kosher salt and pepper.

Sear the roast on both sides on a hot grill pan that has been sprinkled with Kosher salt. Let the roast rest for 15 minutes after searing.


Head roast on hot grill pan to sear.

Stuff the roast with three ounces of blue cheese, roll the roast up, and secure it with butcher’s twine.

Place a probe thermometer in the center of the roast and cook the roast in the oven at 450 degrees until the thermometer reaches 125 degrees.


Head roast in 450 degree oven until reaching 125 in the center.

Remove the roast from the oven, cover it with foil, and let it rest for 15 minutes before slicing.


Head roast resting in foil for 15 minutes.


Head roast, ready to be sliced.


Alton’s stuffed tenderloin.

This was delicious, especially if you like blue cheese. As Alton said, the idea with this recipe was to put the sauce on the inside of the meat… and it works. The meat came out pink and juicy and the cheese was melting in the center. This is another fantastic roast recipe that requires very little effort and produces great results.


I love carpaccio. Although the idea of raw meat may scare some people, I encourage you to give it a try. I had previously only had carpaccio in restaurants, and I likely would never have made it at home if were not for this project. To make Alton’s carpaccio, you will need a small tip portion from a beef tenderloin. Wrap the meat in plastic and place it in the freezer for two hours, or until it is quite firm.


Tenderloin tip wrapped in plastic and heading to freezer for 2 hours.

Leaving the plastic on, slice the meat as thinly as possible with a very sharp knife; I actually removed the plastic for slicing, as I found that the plastic really got in the way.


Slicing meat after freezing.

Spritz a counter top with water and place a layer of plastic wrap down. Spritz the top of the plastic and add the meat slices, overlapping them slightly to form a “disc of meat.” Spritz the meat again and fold the plastic over the top of the meat, sandwiching the meat between the plastic layers.

Spritz the top layer of plastic one final time. Set a pie tin on top of the plastic and pound it with a mallet until the meat is very thin.

Remove the top layer of plastic and invert a plate on top of the meat. Slide your hand under the meat and invert the meat back onto the top of the plate.


Inverting meat onto plate.

Peel off the remaining plastic, leaving the meat on the plate. Chill the meat until eating.


Carpaccio, inverted onto plate.

To serve the carpaccio, dress it with good olive oil, Kosher salt, pepper, lemon juice, shaved Parmesan, and greens. I also added some capers for good measure.


Alton’s carpaccio.

I served the carpaccio with good crackers. I honestly did not think homemade carpaccio would measure up to what I’ve had in restaurants, but Alton’s carpaccio was just as good as anything I’ve eaten out. Now, of course, this was using high-quality beef. This would make a great appetizer to serve to guests, as it is really quite simple to prepare, but is a restaurant-quality dish. Great recipe!

Chain of Bull Cheese Steaks

The final recipe of the tenderloin recipes uses the “chain” part of the loin to make cheesesteak sandwiches. We ate these sandwiches just last night for dinner. I had frozen my chain and pulled it out to thaw a couple days ago. To make these sandwiches, trim the chain of any excess fat and place it between sheets of plastic wrap that have been spritzed with water.

Pound the meat with a mallet until it is even in thickness for its whole length.


The chain portion placed in plastic and pounded until thin.

Place the meat in a bowl and add olive oil, Kosher salt, and pepper. Toss the meat to coat.


Chain placed in bowl and seasoned with olive oil, Kosher salt, and pepper.

Heat a grill pan until it is hot and sear the meat on all sides for about eight minutes total.


Seared chain.

Remove the hot meat from the pan and wrap it tightly in foil. Add some additional olive oil to the grill pan and add one julienned onion. Cook the onion until is golden brown and soft.

Finely chop the cooked meat and pack it onto hoagie rolls.


Chopped chain meat.

Top the meat with shredded Mimolette cheese and the warm onions. I could not find Mimolette cheese locally, so I opted for shredded Cheddar. And, we added a little bit of hot Giardiniera.


Alton’s cheese steak sandwich.

I know people are picky about their cheesesteak sandwiches, and I am a complete novice. All I can say is that the meat was very tender and the warm onions melted the cheese just enough to kind of bind everything together. I did appreciate the little punch of heat from the Giardiniera, so I would personally opt for that again, though some may view that as sacrilegious. I found this to be a really tasty sandwich. Is it a true Philly-style cheesesteak sandwich? Well, that’s a question for those more experienced than I.


This episode of Good Eats sees Alton in the kitchen with his “nephew,” striving to whip up some kid-friendly sandwiches. Alton has four rules for making sandwiches:

  1. Soft fillings and spreads pair best with soft breads.
  2. A barrier (mayo, butter, oil, etc.) should be used to keep bread from getting water-logged from wet ingredients.
  3. The order of sandwich ingredients matters – slippery ingredients are not to be placed next to each other.
  4. Quality of bread is crucial, and you should only utilize bread that you would happily consume plain. Pre-sliced bread tends to be loaded with preservatives, so should be avoided.

Pan Bagnat

The first sandwich Alton makes is a pan bagnat, which translates to “wet bread.” What is a pan bagnat? Basically, it is a French version of a sub sandwich, consisting of several layers of ingredients. This sandwich is designed to be made a couple hours before consumption, as it is best to let the flavors mingle. This sandwich starts with a vinaigrette made by placing 1/2 t Dijon mustard in a bowl, and whisking in 1 T red wine vinegar, 1/2 t Kosher salt, and several grinds of pepper. While continuing to whisk, drizzle in 3 T olive oil to form an emulsion. Set the dressing aside while you build the sandwich.

This sandwich serves four people, and I only needed enough for two, so I cut the recipe in half. Bread-wise, for four servings, you want to get a 16-inch baguette. Slice the loaf in half horizontally and use your fingers to dig out trenches in the center of each half of bread, as if you are creating bread canoes. You can discard the removed bread, or use it to make bread crumbs.

Fill the trench in the bottom half of bread with 12 ounces of drained tuna fish (you can use either oil or water-packed tuna).


Bottom bread trench filled with tuna fish.

Next, add a layer of 1/3-inch thick green bell pepper slices, followed by a layer of 1/3-inch thick red onion slices.

Next, add two hard boiled eggs, thinly sliced.


Tuna topped with green bell pepper, red onions, and hard boiled eggs.

On top of the eggs, sprinkle on 1 C of pitted/chopped Kalamata olives.


Tuna topped with green bell pepper, red onions, hard boiled egg, and Kalamata olives.

Top the olives with 4-5 slices of very ripe tomato and drizzle on the red wine vinaigrette, letting the dressing drizzle down between the ingredient layers.

Place the top bread on top of the sandwich. Wrap the sandwich very tightly in plastic wrap; you will need to overlap sheets of plastic to have a sheet wide enough for the length of the sandwich. Once wrapped, let the sandwich sit at room temperature for two hours before slicing and eating.

I made this sandwich last Friday, as we were taking a short road trip out of town. The sandwich sat in the car for the duration of our drive, and was then ready to eat for dinner when we arrived at our vacation rental.


Alton’s pan bagnat. Excuse the poor lighting in this photo, as our vacation rental had horrible lighting.

Personally, I really liked this sandwich, but Ted doesn’t like canned tuna, so he was not a huge fan. He did, however, say that he would really like this sandwich if it were made with a different protein. Basically, if you’ve ever had a niçoise salad, this sandwich is that salad in sandwich form. Alton did not follow his second sandwich rule of using a moisture barrier with this recipe, so I wondered if the sandwich would end up soggy from the tuna, tomato, olives, and dressing, but it really was not soggy at all. What I liked most about this sandwich were its contrasting flavors, colors, and textures. The veggies gave the sandwich a crunch, the tomato and dressing kept the sandwich from being dry, and the eggs gave a slight creamy texture. Flavor-wise, the vinaigrette and olives were tangy, bright and salty, while the red onions gave a bit of spice/heat. The tomato added fruitiness and the tuna contributed a slight fishy flavor. It was also convenient to be able to make this sandwich ahead. I will definitely make a version of this sandwich again, though I likely will substitute something else (chicken salad?) for the tuna unless I am the only one eating it.

Cuban Sandwich

The second sandwich recipe in this episode is for Alton’s take on the classic Cuban sandwich. To make Cuban sandwiches, slice hoagie rolls in half horizontally and liberally spread yellow mustard on both halves of the rolls.

Top the mustard with a thin layer of baked ham, followed by a thin layer of roast pork (I made a small pork roast for these sandwiches).

Top the pork with two slices of provolone or Swiss cheese (I used Swiss) and two long, thin slices of Kosher dill pickle.

You can wrap the sandwiches in plastic and save them for later, or you can cook them right away. To cook the sandwiches, brush/spread them with butter and press them in a panini press for about 10 minutes.

If you do not have a panini press, you can still press the sandwiches by wrapping three fireplace bricks in foil. Place the bricks on a sheet pan. Place three more bricks (they do not need to be wrapped in foil) on a second sheet pan. Place the two sheet pans of bricks in a 500-degree oven for an hour. Remove the sheet pans from the oven and brush the foil-covered bricks with butter. Place the sandwiches on the foil-covered bricks and brush the sandwich tops with butter. Place the sheet pan of unwrapped bricks on top of the sandwiches and let the sandwiches press between the bricks for about 10 minutes.


Alton’s Cuban sandwich.

I really enjoy Cuban sandwiches because I love their zesty flavor, and I thought this was a great, fast version to make at home. If you don’t want to go to the trouble of roasting pork for this recipe, you could always substitute sliced turkey, or at least that is what Alton says. I’m sure some Cuban sandwich classicists would pooh-pooh Alton’s version with provolone and turkey, but if it tastes good (and it does), who cares?

Roasted Vegetable Spread

The last recipe in this episode is for a vegetarian spread that you could use on any sandwich, or just on crackers or bread. Preheat your oven to 400. While the oven heats, toss the following vegetables with 1-2 T olive oil:  1 sliced zucchini, 1 sliced (into rings) red bell pepper, 1 sliced (into rings) onion, and 4-5 crushed cloves of garlic.

Spread the veggies on a foil-lined sheet pan and sprinkle them with Kosher salt. Roast the vegetables for 45 minutes, stirring them occasionally.


Zucchini, red bell pepper, onion, and garlic tossed with olive oil, spread on a sheet pan, and sprinkled with Kosher salt.

Remove the vegetables from the oven and let them cool to room temperature.


Vegetables after roasting for 45 minutes.

Place the veggies in a food processor, along with eight ounces of cream cheese, and pulse to combine.


Roasted vegetables in the food processor with cream cheese.


Alton’s vegetable spread, served with bread slices.

Alton recommends serving his spread on soft bread (see sandwich rule number 1 above). This spread has a sweet veggie flavor from the caramelized vegetables. While I would not be able to identify zucchini in this spread, the flavors of red bell pepper, onion, and garlic are easily identifiable. I did feel that the spread could use a bit more Kosher salt, though. We enjoyed this as an appetizer on sliced bread, though I can attest it is also good on crackers. This is a recipe that would be great to keep in mind for when you are cleaning out your produce drawer, as you could roast a variety of leftover vegetables and have a different spread each time. I plan to make this again the next time we have leftover veggies.

Fondue Vudu

Now that the fruitcake has officially all been eaten in our house, we’re on to the next logical task:  cheese! Cheese is absolutely one of my favorite things, and I will find any excuse to eat it. I have been known to reason that I need to eat more cheese because “I need more protein,” or because “Calcium is good for my bones.” I can also safely say that I like any and all types of cheeses. Well, except for Gjetost. I just can’t do Gjetost. Thank goodness my HDL is 119.

The first recipe Alton conquers in this episode of Good Eats is for cheese fondue. I will confess that I had made this fondue before, though I had not watched the episode prior to making the recipe. I did watch the episode before making it this time around. My family ate cheese fondue when I was growing up, especially when we went downhill skiing in the winter. I remember that my mom’s recipe always had a touch of Kirsch in it. Alton’s recipe also uses some alcohol, though his is in the form of hard cider and brandy.

To begin Alton’s recipe, you rub your fondue pot with a halved clove of garlic.

Garlic, hard cider, Gruyere, and Smoked Gouda.

Garlic, hard cider, Gruyere, and Smoked Gouda.

Alton recommends using an electric fondue pot, but we do not have one, so I used a standard fondue pot. Once you have thoroughly rubbed your fondue pot with garlic, you add hard cider, Kosher salt, lemon juice (Alton uses 1 T in the episode, while the online recipe calls for 2 T), and brandy. You bring this mixture to a simmer.

Pot rubbed with garlic and filled with hard cider, Kosher salt, lemon juice, and brandy.

Pot rubbed with garlic and filled with hard cider, Kosher salt, lemon juice, and brandy.

Meanwhile, you grate your Gruyere and Smoked Gouda, and toss the cheeses with 2 T of cornstarch (the online recipe calls for less cornstarch).

Grated Gruyere and Smoked Gouda.

Grated Gruyere and Smoked Gouda.

Cheese mixed with cornstarch.

Cheese mixed with cornstarch.

Gradually, handful by handful, you begin adding your grated cheese to the cider mixture.

Adding the first handful of cheese.

Adding the first handful of cheese.

Alton stresses that you take this process slowly, allowing the cheese to melt completely and waiting for bubbles to break the surface before adding the next handful of cheese. I found that I actually needed to increase the heat a bit to get the cheese to completely melt and incorporate. Otherwise, little bits of cheese remained visible.

Adding cheese, handful by handful.

Adding cheese, handful by handful.

All of the cheese incorporated.

All of the cheese incorporated.

Once the cheese is all melted and smooth, you add a pinch of black pepper and 1/2 t (the online recipe calls for 1/4 t) of curry powder. Since we like heat, I chose to use hot curry powder.

Hot curry powder.

Hot curry powder.

Fondue with curry powder.

Fondue with curry powder.

We ate our fondue with cubed bread and a little bit of cubed Summer sausage.

Fondue dinner spread.

Fondue dinner spread.

When we have had fondue in the past, we have also really liked to use apples or pears, though we did not do that this time around. We both really like the flavor of this fondue, which is why we have made it a few times now. My fondue ended up being much smoother this time around, which I assume could be due to the additional cornstarch in the episode recipe vs. the online recipe. The smokiness of the Gouda really comes through in this fondue, though it is not overpowering, and the sweetness of the cider is also evident. I find the flavors to balance well, with the sweetness of the cider, the smokiness of the Gouda, the subtle heat from the curry powder, the tartness of the lemon juice, and the salty/nutty flavor of the Gruyere. This is a super easy, but sinful, dinner to make. We like to have it on a day when we have done a good long run or bike ride! This will remain my go-to cheese fondue recipe, and I’ll be making it as Alton makes it in the episode.

Big Cheese Squeeze

The second recipe in the cheese episode is for a grilled cheese sandwich. Being the cheese lover I am, I’m a pretty happy girl if you put a grilled cheese sandwich in front of me, especially if the bread and cheese do the sandwich justice. For his sandwich, Alton tells you to heat two skillets (preferably iron) over high heat. Ideally, you want one skillet to be able to nest inside the other skillet. We happen to have two iron skillets that fit the bill perfectly.

Heating two cast iron skillets.

Heating two cast iron skillets.

While your skillets heat, you grate a good handful of cheese (Alton uses Cheddar in the episode, so that is what I used) and spread Dijon mustard on one slice of bread. You top this with the cheese, grind some black pepper on top, and put the lid on your sandwich.

Mustard on the bread.

Mustard on the bread.

Extra sharp Cheddar.

Extra sharp Cheddar.

Cheese on the mustard-coated bread.

Cheese on the mustard-coated bread.

And some ground pepper.

And some ground pepper.

You then spritz olive oil onto the outer sides of the sandwich and onto the bottom of the smaller skillet. You remove the pans from the heat, place your sandwich in the larger skillet, and put the smaller skillet on top. In about three minutes, you should have the perfect grilled cheese sandwich.

Into the skillet, after being coated with olive oil.

Into the skillet, after being coated with olive oil.

Nesting skillets.

Nesting skillets.

Nesting skillets.

Nesting skillets.

I have liked all of the recipes that I have prepared from Good Eats… until now. This recipe was just a complete flop for me. My skillets ended up being way too hot, and quickly burned the outside of my sandwich, and I did not actually turn the heat on under the skillets until I was completely ready to assemble my sandwich. I ended up throwing my sandwich away. Frustrated, and irritated to waste aged extra sharp Cheddar cheese, I opted to wait to try again another day. I tried this method again a few days later, opting for non-stick skillets this time, and heating them over lower heat for less time.

Bread with mustard.

Bread with mustard.

Bread with mustard and pepper.

Bread with mustard and pepper.

Bread with mustard, pepper, and cheese.

Bread with mustard, pepper, and cheese.

Oiled sandwich.

Oiled sandwich.

Nestled skillets.

Nestled skillets.

Guess what? This time, the skillets were not hot enough, so the outside of the sandwich got slightly browned, but the cheese was not thoroughly melted. Great.

Sandwich from skillets that were not hot enough.

Sandwich from skillets that were not hot enough.

I had to place them back over the heat and do it a second time. And, in that amount of time, I could have already eaten a perfectly good grilled cheese sandwich made the old-fashioned way. I will say that I liked the sandwich made with Dijon mustard and black pepper, though I had discovered that I liked the addition of mustard on my own a while ago. I will not be making a grilled cheese sandwich this way again. There is a reason that people have been making grilled cheese sandwiches the same way for years – because it works.