It’s suggested that while pregnant, you avoid lunch meat in case it’s carrying Listeria — a type of bacteria that can cause problems in pregnancy. If you really, really want a lunch meat sandwich, it’s said that you can heat the meat through to kill the bacteria. I’ve never been a huge lunch meat person (and the idea of microwaving the meat kind of skeeved me out), so giving it up for nine months wasn’t a big deal.

Until all of the sudden, I wanted a roast beef sandwich. Like, right now.

It became all I could think about. All consuming. Who was this woman lusting over a sandwich, of all things?

I pushed the thought out of my head the best I could and continued about my life, until I caught an episode of Barefoot Contessa on the Food Network, and Ina Garten answered my prayers with a recipe for a homemade steak sandwich. Sold!

I went out that day and bought the ingredients I didn’t already have, which included New York strip steak, bread and fresh thyme. The steak, which can often be expensive, was actually on sale that day, $11 for two steaks, and since I only used one steak for both Michael and myself, the dinner was pretty affordable.

And delicious. OH SO delicious. I made a few changes to the recipe which I’ll share with you (in bold), but I bet the original is equally as good.

Steak Sandwich
Adapted from Ina Garten’s Barefoot Contessa recipe


  • 1 (12-ounce) 1-inch thick New York strip boneless beef top loin steak
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Olive oil
  • 2 yellow onions, sliced in rings (I used one small onion and it was plenty.)
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
  • 1 recipe Mustard Mayo (I did not make the mayo, but if you’re interested, it’s in the original recipe linked above.)
  • 2 mini focaccia buns, sliced in 1/2 (I used French bread, because I picked it up freshly baked. Mmmm.)
  • 1/2 cup baby arugula (I had romaine on hand.)
  • Molly’s addition: enough shredded good cheddar to top sandwich to your liking
  • Directions:

    Season the steak liberally with salt and pepper on both sides. Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a medium saute pan over high heat until it’s almost smoking, then sear the steak on each side for 1 minute. Reduce the heat to low and cook the steak for about 7 to 10 minutes, turning once, until very rare in the middle. (I’m not a fan of super rare, so I cooked the beef a total of 14 minutes, turning once. It turned out a nice medium.) Remove to a plate, cover tightly with aluminum foil, and allow to sit for 10 minutes. Slice the steak into strips.

    Using the same saute pan, heat 1 1/2 tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion and thyme and saute for 10 minutes, until the onions are brown and caramelized, stirring occasionally.

    To assemble the sandwiches, spread a tablespoon of Mustard Mayo (if you made it) on the bottom half of each bun. Place a layer the steak strips on top of the mayo, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and top with the caramelized onion rings. Place the baby arugula on top of the onion rings, and cover the sandwiches with the top half of the buns.

    Molly’s notes: I’m not a big fan of a mayo/mustard combo, so I decided to make a modified garlic bread instead. I sliced the french bread, buttered each half and put them under the broiler until toasty — about 5 minutes. (Keep and eye on them so they don’t burn.) When they came out, I rubbed each half with a piece of garlic. Mmmmm. After I assembled the sandwich, I topped them with grated cheddar (I had Cabot sharp cheddar on hand) because I love cheese. When I make them again (because I will!) I will pop them under the broiler for just enough time to melt the cheese, instead of leaving it cold.

    Michael and I were both really impressed by how much flavor came out of so few ingredients, especially since I didn’t make the mayo. I think the star here is the caramelized onion and thyme combo.

    I’m definitely making this one again! (And by the way, it totally blew a regular roast beef sandwich out of the water.)

    (Photo from the Food Network website, but I think it looked better in real life.)