Thursday, March 8, 2012

Steak Panini with Goat Cheese and Caramelized Onions

There are just certain things that I swear seem to fancy for Wyomingites to buy in grocery stores.  My husband and I stand in certain aisles looking where I think things would be, and they aren't there.  I feel so bad that I make him scour the stores for specific items with me, especially since he comes so willingly to the grocery store to help out.  I can't imagine he likes dodging and ducking through the interesting people we encounter in grocery stores. 

Our latest endeavor was to find goat cheese.  I swore to him that I found it at a certain grocery store while picking up some miscellaneous items once.  We went there, and it wasn't there anymore.  He suggested we try Wal Mart, and I scoffed, since I swear I looked there before too.  Lo and behold, sitting in the front of the store was goat cheese.  I guess one store stopped carrying it and Wal Mart picked it up.  So hooray for another new ingredient to try.

Steak Panini with Goat Cheese and Caramelized Onions
slightly adapted from Serious Eats
3 ounces fresh goat cheese
1 tablespoon fresh basil, chopped
1 tablespoon fresh thyme, chopped
3/4 pounds flank steak (or any cut you'd like)
salt and pepper
2 tablespoons olive oil 
1 sweet onion, cut into ½-inch slices
⅓ cup balsamic vinegar  
4 slices crusty bread, (we used focaccia) 
1)   Combine goat cheese, basil, and thyme in a medium-sized bowl. Stir together with a fork and set aside. 
2)   Season both sides of flank steak with salt and pepper. Preheat a 10-inch cast iron pan over medium-high heat. Add one tablespoon of canola oil. When oil starts to smoke, add the flank steak. Cook until well browned on one side, three to four minutes, and then flip. Cook until browned on that side, three to four minutes, and then transfer to a cutting board and let it rest.
3)  Reduce heat to medium and add the rest of the oil and the onions. Stir well until onions are coated in oil, about one minute. Then season with about ¼ teaspoon of salt and pour in the balsamic vinegar. Cook over medium heat until onions are soft and caramelized, about 20 minutes. Turn off heat, and transfer onions to a bowl.
4)  Thinly slice the flank steak against the grain. 
5)  Lay out the eight slices of bread. Smear a little goat cheese on one side of each. Divide the meat between four slices of bread, and season with salt and pepper. Spoon a tablespoon or two of the caramelized onions on the steak. Top each with the remaining four slices of bread, making sure the goat cheese spread faces down.
6)   Preheat a panini press to medium. Place the sandwich in and cook until sandwiches are well browned, about four minutes. Also, you could preheat a grill pan to medium. Places the sandwiches on top, and weigh them down with a heavy iron skillet. Cook them until well browned, about three minutes a side.
7)   Slice the sandwiches in half and serve. 
These sandwiches are very flavorful.  The balsamic vinegar and the goat cheese work very well together to create flavor without drowning out the steak on the sandwich.  This was a great weeknight meal that we both enjoyed.  Jacob was surprised at how much flavor the goat cheese actually added to the sandwich.  We both agree that without the goat cheese, this sandwich wouldn't have the same effect.

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