July 30, 2006

The French Dip

Another favorite meal of ours that's recently made a comeback is the thinly sliced beef and carmelized onion sandwich most often called a French Dip. Served with a small cup of beef broth for dipping, it always feels special despite its simplicity.

This was a staple last year for us. I might get crucified for this, but for this sandwich, I actually use paper-thin beef that's meant for carpaccio. It's a bit expensive, but it's perfectly thin, very lean and just perfect for this quick meal. Really, you just have to show it the pan, et voila! It's done. The only problem is potentially overcooking it. In the States, I probably wouldn't use carpaccio, but instead shaved beef from the deli counter, very thin slices of steak, or even leftover pot roast.

A French Dip
with Roast Beef, Caramelized Onions, and Melted Swiss

1 pkg beef carpaccio (about 12 large slices)
enough thinly sliced beef, steak, or roast for 2

2 medium yellow onions, sliced
1 Tbsp butter
salt and pepper
tiny pinch of sugar, optional
2/3 cup grated Emmenthal, Gruyere, Swiss or Provolone cheese
pinch dried oregano or italian seasoning
2 cups good quality beef broth
1 baguette, or other crusty roll

Caramelize the Onions:
1. Cut the onions in half and slice. Melt the tablespoon of butter over medium heat in a stainless or ceramic pot. (My Le Creuset works great.) Add the onions and cover the pot. Let cook 5-10 minutes. Check to make sure the onions are sweating, but not browning at this point.
2. Remove the lid and add the salt, pepper and a pinch of sugar. Turn the heat up to medium-high. Stir the onions occasionally and make sure they are not scorching, but browning nicely.
3. If you find them browning too quickly, turn down the heat and add a few tablespoons of water while you stir. This will lift up some of the brown color into the onions and cool down the pot a bit. Let the onions cook until deeply colored, another 20 minutes, or longer.

Bring the beef broth to a boil in a wide pan. Once boiling, remove half of it and divide it between 2 small cups for dipping. Set these aside. Turn down the heat on the remaining broth so that it is just at a simmer. Gently lay 3-4 slices of carpaccio in the broth at a time and leave for 5 seconds, or just until the red color has almost disappeared. Remove quickly to a plate. Repeat with the remaining carpaccio.

If using leftover cooked beef, simply reheat it in the broth before assembling the sandwich.

Pile the caramelized onions, beef and cheese on your roll or baguette. Sprinkle with dried herbs. Place the open sandwich (with cheese on top) under the broiler for several minutes to let the cheese melt. Serve with the broth on the side. Serves 2.
I also served a quick Cucumber Salad with this. It's quite light and refreshing.
Slice 1 cup cucumbers and combine them with the following:
1/2 cup plain yogurt, 2 Tbsp creme fraiche or sour cream, 2 Tbsp chopped dill,
1 minced garlic clove, salt, pepper and chopped chives.
Refrigerate until cold.


Lisa said...

Bonjour Megan! Thanks for your comment on my blog. I'm glad I discovered yours, that way. It's a wonderful blog! It'll be great reading about your life in France.

And this French dip sandwich is driving me wild. :)

Cheers, Lisa

Nerissa said...

my honeypie loves this at restaurants. I guess it's high time to learn how to do it at home, huh?