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Cheesesteak Lettuce Cups

One minute you’re full of energy and hometown pride, confidently striding from South Street to one of the famous cheesesteak hubs. A short time later, your Whiz wit dispatched, you’re calling for an Uber, canceling your dinner reservations, and wanting a nap. If you’re visiting, that’s no way to spend your day. Even if you live here, who has time for that? Not me.
 

Let’s steal an idea from the low-carb crowd: instead of a roll, pile thinly sliced steak inside a butter lettuce cup. Add lightly caramelized onions, a quick homemade cheese sauce, and spicy pickled pepper rings. I realize this isn’t the same thing as standing on the corner of 9th and Passyunk—you won’t end up with a river of grease from fingers to elbow for one thing—but it hits those classic Philly cheesesteak flavor notes. Plus, when you do the shopping you know you’re eating ingredients (especially when it comes to beef) you can feel great about.

By / Photography By | June 10, 2019

Ingredients

SERVINGS: 4 Serving(s)
Caramelized Onions
  • 1 large yellow onion, halved and sliced thin
  • 1 tablespoon canola oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
Cheese Sauce
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup shredded cheese (American, cheddar, mozzarella, or provolone)
  • Pinch cayenne pepper
Steak
  • 1 tablespoon canola oil
  • 1 skirt steak (about 1 pound), at room temperature
To assemble
  • 16 big butter lettuce leaves
  • Pickled pepper rings, to garnish

Preparation

Make caramelized onions: Heat the oil in a large skillet set over medium- high heat and add the onions and salt. Cook, stirring frequently, until the onions have become soft and translucent, about 10 minutes.

Turn the heat to medium-low and continue cooking, partially covered, stirring occasionally until the onions are light brown, about 15 more minutes. Remove from the heat into a bowl or storage container.

Make the cheese sauce: In a small pot, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the flour and cook, stirring, until the flour is no longer raw, about a minute. Slowly pour in the milk, whisking as you go to avoid lumps, and bring the mixture to a boil. Simmer until thick enough to coat the back of a spoon, about 2 minutes, and remove from the heat. Add cheese and cayenne, and stir until melted.

Make the steak: Season the steak well with plenty of salt. In a castiron skillet set over high, heat the canola oil until smoking. Add the steak and cook, undisturbed, until it is browned, about 2 minutes. Flip, and cook on the other side until brown and the steak is medium-rare, about 2 minutes more. Transfer to a cutting board and let rest for 10 minutes before slicing thin against the grain.

To make the lettuce cups, add a few slices of steak to a butter lettuce leaf and top with caramelized onions, a drizzle of cheese sauce, and a few pickled pepper pieces. Serve immediately.

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Ingredients

SERVINGS: 4 Serving(s)
Caramelized Onions
  • 1 large yellow onion, halved and sliced thin
  • 1 tablespoon canola oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
Cheese Sauce
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup shredded cheese (American, cheddar, mozzarella, or provolone)
  • Pinch cayenne pepper
Steak
  • 1 tablespoon canola oil
  • 1 skirt steak (about 1 pound), at room temperature
To assemble
  • 16 big butter lettuce leaves
  • Pickled pepper rings, to garnish
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