Photography courtesy of Twelve21 Studios
Taco Tuesday should offer up the ability to have some fun with the food you serve, and maybe try to think outside the proverbial taco-box, don't you think? We should stretch outside the realm of what is typical taco-fare sometimes, shouldn't we?
Now, don't take my blasphemy as a slight against Mexican food, because in no way is it intended that way (Mexican food is near and dear to my heart)... as a cook, I just always look for a way to play with my food.
So, without further delay, I give you the cheesesteak taco.
The ingredients are straightforward and familiar:
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons all purpose flour
1 1/2 cups milk
6 oz Jack Cheese, grated
6 oz Mild Cheddar Cheese, grated
6 oz Bell Peppers (whichever colors you like), sliced
6 oz White Onion, sliced
14 oz Beef Sirloin
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 loaf French Bread, sliced
Salt and Pepper to taste
Cheesesteaks are perfectly built for the transformation to taco... They're uncomplicated, and have distinct features that should keep them familiar to all consuming parties: holding vessel, sauce, meat, and vegetables.
Vessel: In keeping with the flexible flatbread-like styling of the tortilla, the serving vessel is as simple as it gets. It's French Bread. More specifically, it's French Bread without the crust, that's been cut to shape and vacuum packed to get it nice and flat. You could just as easily flatten out the French bread instead with a rolling pin, or use a flour tortilla or a pita. I felt like it was important to keep that bread flavor, so that's the direction I went in. You can also toast it lightly in a dry sauté pan, as well.
Sauce: The second bit is the ever-important cheese sauce. Here's a brief rundown on how to throw this together:
Melt the butter in a medium saucepan and add the flour to make a roux. Cook the mixture over medium-low heat for 10-15 minutes, stirring every couple minutes.
- Add the milk, and bring the mixture up to a simmer. Add the cheese, cut the heat down to the very last setting on your burner, and whisk thoroughly until the sauce is smooth. Taste the sauce and season with salt and pepper, and keep on low heat, mixing occasionally, for when you're ready to serve.
Meat and Vegetables: Season the steak with salt and pepper, and slice it as thinly as possible. Add a tablespoon of olive oil to a sauté pan and crank the heat up to high (that point where your igniter stops ticking). Add the steak and cook for about five to seven minutes, until it's cooked through.
Add the remaining oil, lower the heat to medium, add the vegetables, and stir frequently. You'll cook the vegetables for only a few minutes, until they start turning translucent but not too soft... you don't want them mushy... they should still have some crunch to them.
Simple as that. Assemble your taco, douse that thing in hot sauce (if you're anything like me), and commence Taco Tuesday festivities!