Each year I take my young family a few hours north to a small lake near Wild Rose, WI. Along the way is exit 81 for Route 28, connecting Widmer’s Cheese Cellars in Theresa with Kewaskum Meats, the source of Jeff Leen Farm’s Piedmontese steak. The pungency of this unique American cheese is balanced with the smokiness of the meat and the sweet complexity of slow roasted tomatoes adapted from Alice Waters. I’ve served it as an appetizer, though two or three of these open-faced sandwiches are a small meal.

  • 8 medium heirloom tomatoes
  • 1 medium red onion
  • 2 teaspoons sea salt
  • 2 teaspoons cracked black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 – 1 lb Peidmontese NY Strip
  • = cup Penzey’s Old World Seasoning
  • = lb Aged Brick Cheese, slices
  • 1 Baguette, = slices on bias

Lightly drizzle a heavy, ovenproof baking dish with olive oil. Slice the tops off the tomatoes and remove the pith remaining from the stem area, slice top and bottom off the onion and peel. Place into dish, tomatoes with cut side up. Sprinkle with 1 teaspoon each of salt and pepper and drizzle lightly with remaining olive oil. Place in oven at 300 degrees for 3 hours or until the juices that run from the tomatoes begin to caramelize a deep brown color. Remove and let stand until slightly cooled. This can be prepared a day in advance. When cooled rough chop the tomatoes and onion, place into a bowl and add all the liquid that has accumulated in the dish. Add balsamic vinegar and remaining salt and pepper to taste.

Rub the steaks with Old World Seasoning or similar smoky beef rub. Under the broiler or on a high heat grill, prepare the steaks to desired doneness, though I highly recommend rare to medium-rare. Let stand for ten minutes to cool slightly and let the juices of the steak redistribute. Trim excess fat from the steak and slice on the bias across the width into slices.

Assembly: Pre-heat the oven to broil and place the rack in the middle of the oven. Toast the sliced baguette on a baking sheet until golden brown. Scoop a generous tablespoon of the tomato mixture onto each toast. Lay three slices of beef, slightly overlapping, across the tomato mixture. Slice the brick cheese into slices and lay down the length of the steak. Place back into oven until cheese just begins to soften, approximately 4 minutes.