Saturday, February 22, 2014

Theater Steak

Classics are just that for a reason, and Marion Cunningham's retro "Theater Steak" is proof that a one-dish dinner can be downright amazing.

The Web is full of exciting new recipes, but some of the best recipe ideas come from the classics; the tried and true that have stood the test of time.  Sometimes simplicity wins out over fancy new flavor combinations and unique ingredients. I think that Marion Cunningham believes this as well as her recipes are just that, pared down with good simplistic ingredients.  

Theater Steak is by Marion Cunningham and its concept was simple: a one-dish steak dinner that (according to her) ensured that a theater-goer would make his curtain call on time. I love a good steak and mushrooms, but the buttery goodness of toasted bread was calling to me.  

I followed the recipe as is except the substitution of the Filet Mignon with a sirloin I had on hand.  Along the line of an open faced sandwich this is perfect for dinner or lunch.  This recipe is proof that less is more.  The flavors are exquisite!

If you get a chance to try more of Marion Cunningham's recipes, do so.  You'll be in for a real treat.  

Theater Steak

Adapted from Marion Cunningham's recipe from The San Francisco Chronicle Cookbook

Serves 4

2 tablespoons neutral cooking oil, such as canola or safflower
2 (6-8-ounce) restaurant cut sirloin steaks, at room temperature
1/4 cup chicken stock or white wine

4 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
1 pound mixed mushrooms, cleaned and sliced
1 large onion, sliced into half moons
4 thick slices good-quality bread (I used a French loaf)
1 cup spicy greens, such as arugula or watercress
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
Heat two tablespoons of oil in a heavy skillet over medium-high to high heat. Pat the steaks very dry and season the side facing up generously with salt and pepper. When the oil is shimmering, place the steaks, seasoned side down, in the skillet. Season the top with additional salt and pepper.
Cook the steaks without disturbing until a deep golden brown crust has formed, 4 to 5 minutes. Flip the steaks and allow to cook for another 3-5 minutes until cooked to desired doneness.  Remove and keep warm tenting with foil.
Turn up the heat to high under the skillet.  Add the stock or wine and scape up any brown bits from the bottom of the pan. Lower heat to medium and add 2 tablespoons butter. Add the mushrooms and onions and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring frequently, until tender, 10 to 12 minutes. Transfer to a plate.
Melt the remaining two tablespoons butter in the skillet. Add the bread and cook until toasted and golden brown on each side.  Place about 1/4 cup greens over each piece of bread, followed by 1/4 of the mushroom mixture.  Thinly slice the steaks lengthwise and arrange over the bread; pour any juices from the cutting board over the top.

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