Savory sandwiches a touchdown for tailgates

Fall marks the start of football season. Game day experiences are made even more enjoyable by hosting or attending a tailgate in the parking lot of the stadium.

Tailgate supplies must be brought to the tailgate the day of the game. That includes food, which is often prepared at home and then cooked on-site. This recipe for "Ultimate Steak & Mushroom Sandwiches" from Laurie McNamara's "Simply Scratch" (Avery) can be prepared at home and then put together at the stadium lot. These delicious sandwiches can be easily cut into small pieces and served as slider-type appetizers.

Ultimate Steak & Mushroom Sandwiches

Makes 4 6-inch sandwiches

11/4 to 1 1/2 pounds rib-eye steak

1 cup Balsamic Herb Dressinade (see below)

1 tablespoon unsalted butter

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 large sweet onion, halved and thinly sliced

1 pint cremini mushrooms, cleaned and sliced

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper (optional)

1/2 cup crumbled blue cheese

1 1/2 cups grated provolone cheese

4 6-inch hoagie bungs, split

Mayonnaise

Balsamic Herb Dressinade

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil or 1 teaspoon dried

2 teaspoons chopped fresh rosemary, or 1 teaspoon dried

1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme, or 1/2 teaspoon dried

3⁄4 teaspoon kosher salt

1⁄4 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper

2 teaspoons Dijon mustard

6 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

2 tablespoons red wine vinegar

1 cup grape-seed or olive oil

In a 1-pint glass jar, combine all the ingredients. Secure the lid and shake until combined. Let stand for 30 minutes before using. Refrigerate any unused dressing.

Place the steak on a small rimmed baking sheet and freeze for 20 minutes so it's firm and partially frozen. Holding a sharp knife on a slight angle, going against the grain of the meat, slice into very thin strips.

In a large resealable bag or a medium bowl, marinate the steak in the dressinade for 30 minutes.

On a griddle or in a 12-inch cast-iron skillet, melt the butter with the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the onion, toss and spread out in an even layer. Once the onion starts to soften, add the mushrooms. Cook until soft and slightly caramelized.

Using tongs, remove the steak from the marinade (allow excess to drip back into the bag or bowl) and place on the griddle, toss with the onions and mushrooms, then spread in an even layer. Allow the steak to sear, forming a crust, for 4 to 6 minutes, then flip and cook for 4 to 6 minutes more.

Season with a pinch of salt and pepper, if desired, and sprinkle with the blue cheese and provolone. Turn off the heat on the griddle or remove the skillet from the heat and cover with a domed lid or tented foil to allow the cheese to melt quickly.

Toss one last time so the cheese is mixed throughout. Divide the steak mixture among the crusty hoagie buns. Serve immediately.

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