by Debra on April 5, 2010

Musical pairing – Dreams Be Dreams by Jack Johnson
I grew up in Southeastern Washington State in the tiny little town of Walla Walla – population of about 25,000 when I lived there.  Some of you will have to look it up on Google maps while others will recognize Walla Walla’s name as the up-and-coming home to some terrific wines and is receiving big-time press of late.  It is also home to the famous Walla Walla Sweet Onion, which, in my humble opinion, is the best sweet onion of all time!  But back in the day, my hometown was just a dot on the map where generations of family farmers planted hundreds of acres in wheat, alfalfa and corn or raised cattle and horses – it was the Wild West, baby! (just kidding about that ‘wild west’ part . . . )

I dreamed about all the far away places I would be traveling to because I was going to be a singer just like Barbra Streisand (I’m her adopted daughter, remember?) – my tours would take me to places like Cairo, Ireland, Germany and Italy . . . oh the dreams of an 8-year old!  Obviously, I’m not the adopted daughter of Barbra Streisand and I’ve never been to Cairo, Ireland or Germany but in my defense, I have made it to Italy.

Fast forward more years than I care to count and one of my new dreams was for The Professor and I to attend a cooking class which we did at ‘Charleston Cooks!‘ held in the Maverick Kitchen Store in downtown Charleston.  It was quite fun and we came home with several recipes including this one for Flank Steak Sandwiches with Gorgonzola cheese, aioli and arugula.

Great for lunch or dinner, this sandwich is big on flavors – sharp Gorgonzola, garlicky aioli and peppery arugula.  It’s easy to prepare and takes less than an hour to put together; add some sweet potato home fries and a glass of red wine or a beer and you have one terrific meal that will feed 4-6 hearty appetites for around $20 – a steal of a deal!

I’ve really enjoyed reading your comments so here’s my next question, ‘Did you grow up in a small town or a big city?’


Adapted from Charleston Cooks!

Bistecca ala Fiorentina (Gorgonzola Flank Steak)
1 flank steak – about 2 pounds
3 garlic cloves peeled and minced
1/4 cup olive oil
1 lemon, zested and juiced

1. Season flank steak with salt and pepper on both sides
2. Blend garlic, olive oil and lemon zest together in small bowl
3. Rub steaks with garlic mixture and let rest at room temperature for up to 30 minutes.
4. Heat grill to medium-high. Grill steaks until just before desired doneness
5. Place steaks on a cutting board and let rest for about 5 minutes before slicing.

Lemon Garlic Aioli
1 Cup Hellman’s or good quality Mayonnaise
1 Tablespoon garlic peeled and minced
3 Tablespoons rice wine vinegar
2 Tablespoons lemon juice
1 Tablespoon Dijon mustard
Hot sauce to taste

Place Mayonnaise, garlic, vinegar, lemon juice and mustard in blender jar or bowl of food processor. Blend until all ingredients are incorporated.  Season the aioli to taste with salt, pepper and hot sauce.

Assembling the Sandwich
1 loaf crusty Ciabatta or other hearty bread, sliced
Olive oil
1 recipe lemon garlic aioli
1 recipe Bistecca ala Fiorentina, thinly sliced, against the grain of the meat
1-11/2 cups Gorgonzola blue cheese, crumbled
12 ounces baby Arugula leaves, stems trimmed
3 Roma tomatoes, sliced

1. Preheat oven to broil; drizzle bread slices with olive oil on both sides. Place on a sheet pan and broil until lightly toasted on both sides.
2. Remove from the oven and immediately spread a thin layer of lemon garlic aioli on one side of all the bread slices,
3. Divide the steak slices and crumbled Gorgonzola cheese among 1/2 of the bread slices. Place the steak and cheese slices on a sheet pan and place under the broiler until the cheese melts and is bubbly,
4. Divide the baby Arugula and the tomato slices among the other 1/2. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
5. Place the halves together to make a sandwich.

© 2010 – 2011, Debra. All rights reserved.

Leave a Comment

{ 23 comments… read them below or add one }

Michelle February 22, 2012 at 4:21 pm

Best. Sandwich. Ever. Thank you so much for sharing the recipe. I was so excited to try this I completely missed the broiling instructions. I almost forgot the gorgonzola too, but remembered about 1/2-way through my meal. ;-)


Barbara @ Modern Comfort Food November 16, 2010 at 6:47 am

You might well have custom tailored this gorgeous sandwich just for me, Debra, I love it and every ingredient in it so much. We’re definitely going to crank up our grill tonight and have these. Can’t wait!


Clpblank June 10, 2010 at 12:26 pm

I have a second home in W2, ok it is the inlaws but atleast I am welcomed there. Lets start by saying you really need to head back it is more than an up and coming area, it has arived and kicking down doors. My first trip there there was 9 wineries now pushing 100 or more and the dining is supperb, but i’ll always have a soft spot for Merchants. BTW I am from Spokane, Wife from W2 give ya a little back ground. Nice sandwich thinking about adapting it and using on a lunch menu in my restaruant.


Kevin (Closet Cooking) April 8, 2010 at 6:38 pm

What a tasty sounding sandwich! I really like the gorgonzola in there!


sweetlife April 6, 2010 at 6:50 pm

what a great sammy…love onions yes love them all..we have the texas sweet onion..yum

small town…aransas pass texas…



Barbara April 6, 2010 at 4:45 am

Wow. What a great looking sammie, Debra!! And you’ve got the perfect bread match with it too.

I grew up in a teeny tiny town in Michigan. 2000 people.


Debra April 5, 2010 at 7:27 pm

What’s great about this sammie, Maria, is that it needs a good, crusty bread to balance the steak – you could actually toast an entire loaf of ciabatta, fill the whole thing and then cut into slices for a big party!


Maria April 5, 2010 at 6:53 pm

I love a good sammie! Great photos too!


Debra April 5, 2010 at 5:25 pm

Gig Harbor is beautiful Nancy – I live for WW Sweet season! AND have had some great WW wines!


Nancy G. April 5, 2010 at 4:40 pm

Wonderful! I am a Washington native as well (currently residing in Gig Harbor) and there is not a better onion that a Walla Walla sweet.

Yes, I am also familiar with Beaverton.


Debra April 5, 2010 at 4:31 pm

Oh Kim, that conversation just makes me laugh! And I know where Beaverton is – lucky you! Aren’t WW Sweets the bestest ever?!?!


Kim at Rustic Garden Bistro April 5, 2010 at 3:42 pm

Just the other day, when I sent Mr. RGBistro out back to weed the garden, he came back with a question asking, “did you know we have wild arugula growing out there?”

Me: We do?!?!

Mr. RGBistro: Yes. Do you want me to yank them?

Me: Save your energy; I’m sure I’ll find a use for them.

So perhaps I need to make these sandwiches!!!

And to answer your question: I grew up in Beaverton, Oregon, outside of Portland. I’d call that a “small town.” And I know where Walla Walla is. OUTSTANDING sweet onions!



Debra April 5, 2010 at 2:55 pm

Mac – your hubby will LOVE these – the guys in the class snarfed these puppies in a flash! And I highly recommend the cooking classes – soooooo much fun!


Mac April 5, 2010 at 2:55 pm

Debra, showed this to Hubby….guess what he wants for dinner tomorrow night! Ha!

Your photos make us say things like, “ooooooo, and aaaahhhhh, and mmmmmmmm.”

We hope to take some cooking lessons together in the future. Sounds like so much fun.


Debra April 5, 2010 at 2:42 pm

Carol ~ mmmm-hmmmm!


Carol April 5, 2010 at 2:18 pm



Debra April 5, 2010 at 9:52 am

Bunky – These are soooo good! In fact, they were our favorite recipe of all those we made that evening!

Briana! ~ You are just too cute for words! Make the sammies and let me know what you think!


bunkycooks April 5, 2010 at 9:13 am

This is my kind of meal! The “sammies” look delicious. Love the pics.


Brianna! April 5, 2010 at 8:00 am

THESE photos are gorgeous and make me REALLLYYYY hungry!


Debra April 5, 2010 at 7:58 am

I knew I liked you Susan! We ARE long lost sisters – who knew Barbra had TWO daughters, LOL! I don’t sing professionally much anymore except w/The Professor every now and then!


Susan @ SGCC April 5, 2010 at 7:04 am

I was born in the Big Apple and moved to a little dot on the map when I was 11. We must be long lost sisters because I, too, am Barbra’s adopted daughter! I have had the same dreams as you. I am a lyric soprano and have worked as a soloist and recitalist for over 25 years. Small world, isn’t it?

P.S. That sandwich looks fab! :)


Debra April 5, 2010 at 6:53 am

Lana ~ I wondered how long it would take before someone mentioned the Vidalia onion! Little towns really are wonderful places to grow up – even though we don’t think so as children!


Lana @ Never Enough Thyme April 5, 2010 at 6:42 am

Oh my. This recipe is making me hungry and it’s only 9:30 in the morning! Love steak, love gorgonzola, love aioli…I know I’d love this sandwich.

In answer to your question, I grew up in a very small town (pop. ~1500) in south Georgia. Not too very far from Vidalia – rival to the Walla Walla! The nearest town of any size (pop. about 75,000) was an hour’s drive away. It was a wonderful place to grow up and I still return there very often.


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