You need this fillet-cheesesteak sandwich in your life… tender morsels of fillet wrapped in a blanket of gooey cheese, mingling with melty herbed peppers and caramelized onions on a warm, buttery brioche bun are true sandwich perfection!
I’ve never had a traditional cheesesteak sandwich before. Is that weird? I’ve seen the food porn and I’ve heard all about it’s messy deliciousness. A traditionalist might say there are all sorts of things wrong with my version, but I’m a firm believer that food is open to interpretation (as well as what you might have available at home when a craving strikes).
The honest answer? I had a bag of fillet pieces in my freezer, it’s my stepson’s favorite food and he’s been persistently asking me when I’m going to cook them since the day after they ended up there. Over the summer, feeling all of the deprivation social distancing had forced on our lives, we decided to go all out and treat ourselves to an al fresco meal of surf and turf. For No. Special. Reason. I picked up beautiful steaks and giant crab legs at my favorite local butcher shop but didn’t realize until I got home that my fillets were HUGE, and while I was confident in our steak eating abilities I made the executive decision to trim them to a more reasonable size and save the rest for a future indulgence.
And I’m SO glad I did- the resulting sandwich was totally worth the wait!
Cheesesteak is traditionally made with thinly sliced ribeye. Using fillet and cutting it into cubes instead of thin slices makes for a super tender, juicy bite. The key is to cook the steak just long enough to get color on the outside but keep it medium inside. It literally just takes a few minutes in the pan and the resulting steak will melt in your mouth.
Oh, and these peppers?????
So, one of the cookbooks I cut my teeth on years ago is The Silver Palate. It’s a classic and if you haven’t heard of it I think you should take a look. I haven’t looked through it for a while and decided to get it out the other day and flip through the pages. We LOVE colorful bell peppers in our house and when I noticed this recipe I had to try it. It calls for herbs de provence which was kind of exciting because A- I’m a food nerd and B- I don’t use it very often (but have now decided I need to pay more attention to it). I feel like this recipe is very forgiving and you can use different herbs to make it your own so get creative. However, I really loved the flavor herbs de provence added.
These peppers are worth making just to keep on hand because you can use them in so many ways! I’ve made them three times since learning about them and find myself adding them to all kinds of things- I topped a small round of brie with a healthy portion, wrapped it in pastry and baked for an appetizer, I’ve tossed it with pasta and crispy slices of Italian sausage for dinner. I could see them bringing life to a basic grilled cheese, too (now I need to try that). Anyway, so many uses and so much flavor. Love. love, love. Make extra and keep them in your fridge. You’re welcome 🙂
How to make melty peppers and caramelized onions
A Word on Brioche Buns
I happen to love making yeast breads. Something about how the same simple ingredients put together in different ways can create totally different results. The way yeast and sugar and eggs and butter smell when they’re combined. The feel of dough under your hands as you knead and shape it. The timing, the process…ahhhhhh….it’s magic, really. These buns need to be started early in the day because they take 4 hours to make. If that’s not your thing (and no judgement here) buy buns. Just get GOOD buns. I love the brioche here because they have enough body to hold up to the drippiness (is that a word?) of the fillings without falling apart, yet they’re soft enough inside that they soak up a lot of the flavor at the same time. And that crunchy salt on top??? Yeah…..get good buns.
If you want some yeast bread therapy make these brioche buns
I hope you love these fillet cheesesteak sandwiches as much as we do!
- 1 1/4 lb beef tenderloin, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
- kosher salt and cracked pepper
- 3 cups shredded white or yellow cheddar cheese
- 3 red bell peppers, cut into thin strips
- 1 large yellow onion, sliced thin
- 1/2 tsp herbs de provence
- 1/3 cup olive oil
- 3 TBSP butter
- 1/3 cup fresh basil, chopped
- 3 garlic cloves, sliced thin
- 4 long brioche buns
- banana pepper rings (optional)
- After cutting steak into cubes pat dry with paper towels. Sprinkle steak cubes with kosher salt and cracked pepper to season and set aside while preparing peppers (you want them to be room temperature when you cook them)
- For peppers: Heat olive oil and butter in a wide skillet over medium-high heat until bubbling. Add peppers, onions, herbs de provence and salt and pepper to taste. Reduce heat to medium and stir mixture frequently until peppers are really soft and onions are starting to caramelize, about 45 minutes.
- Preheat oven to 275 f. Wrap buns in foil and place them in the oven while preparing the rest of recipe.
- Stir basil and sliced garlic into pepper mixture and continue cooking and stirring for 5 minutes. Remove mixture to a bowl and cover to keep warm
- For steak: In the oil left in your pan from the peppers, over medium heat, cook your steak cubes, stirring so they don't stick for 2 minutes. Increase heat to med-high and continue cooking for 2 minutes more. You don't want them well done (because they'll be chewy), just no more pink on the outside.
- Reduce heat to low and stir in the cheese. Stir just until the cheese melts and completely coats the meat, creating a sauce.
- To assemble: Remove buns from oven and split lengthwise but don't cut all the way through.. You want the buns to be connected on one side like a book so your filling stays inside.
- Portion peppers onto bun bottoms, top with steak. Add banana peppers if desired. Drizzle any cheese left in pan over top of peppers/meat (don't be shy- this is supposed to be messy!)
- You can use any sausage roll/hoagie bun for these sandwiches in place of the brioche. We love the brioche because of their buttery flavor and fluffy texture.
- Herbs de Provence adds a really wonderful flavor to the peppers but if you don't have it use 1 bay leaf, 1/4 tsp dried thyme leaves and a pinch of rosemary for this recipe- make sure to remove the bay leaf at the end of cooking (herbs de provence is a combination of thyme, savory, marjoram, lavender, rosemary, fennel and bay leaf)
- If you don't have fresh basil sub 1/2 tsp dried and add it at the same time as the other dried herbs
- To peel fresh garlic cloves: place whole cloves on cutting board and smash with the flat side of a chefs knife or the flat bottom of a mug or small bowl. The skin will easily separate from the clove so that you can slice thinly.
- I use white or yellow cheddar here but feel free to get creative with other cheese combos to make it your own!
- These peppers are wonderful and can be used for so many other things! I've put them on top of a small wheel of brie, wrapped in pastry and baked as an appetizer. You could toss them with sliced Italian sausage and serve over pasta....make extra and get creative!