(photo courtesy of Philly.com)
You had to chuckle and then realize a chef's true genius while reading Michael Klein's article in the Philadelphia Inquirer's Food section yesterday, chronicling Le Bec-Fin's owner/chef Georges Perrier's take on the venerable cheesesteak. Perrier agreed to create his interpretation for author Carolyn Wyman as she promoted her just-released book The Great Philly Cheesesteak Book.
At least we know now that despite his well-known Gallic bluster, Perrier doesn't take himself so seriously that he can't make a cheesesteak. Just a few days ago he was on the sidewalk outside of LBF flipping burgers for Bastille Day. Zoot alors! Maybe the old guy is mellowing.
And ya gotta love Wyman's taste in cheesesteaks. Klein describes her book as a "travelogue studded with sidebars describing minutiae such as the many variations of meat and condiments," but when he asks her who makes the best cheesesteak in Philly, she's quick to answer that "this book is not a contest" but goes on to name her faves: Johnny's Hots [an under-the-radar and very underrated steak], Donkey's [in Camden, NJ], Grey Lodge Pub [one of my personal Top 5 steaks anywhere,the most flavorful cheesesteak I've ever tasted, so take that and suck it, Craig Laban!], Philip's, Talk of the Town and Sonny's for "slab-style" beef, and Claymont Steaks [in Claymont,DE, very big sandwiches, but not a lot of flavor], Dalessandro's and Pagano's for chopped-up steaks (but they aren't true cheesesteaks, are they?)
The best part's of Klein's article though, was the walk-through Perrier gave him to make the LBF cheesesteak, Wyman's stunned reaction to how good it was, and the surprisingly simple and elegant recipe:
Georges Perrier's Cheesesteak
Makes 2 servings
Makes 2 servings
Extra virgin olive oil
9 ounces of prime filet of beef, frozen, and then sliced very thin
1 teaspoon butter
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
2 onions chopped and cooked until caramelized
1 tablespoon of pickled onion and carrots
2 teaspoons of beef jus
3 slices of Gruyère cheese
1. Heat a pan with extra virgin olive oil until very hot. Add the meat and the butter, and cook until medium.
2. Slice the baguette and place in an oven to warm.
3. When bread is heated, put mustard, onion, pickled vegetables, meat, a little beef juice, and cheese over the sandwich and melt in the broiler.
Now for some real fun: check out the VIDEO of Perrier making the sandwich for Klein and Wyman, courtesy of the Inquirer's website. Wacky, funny stuff.