Any trip to the Upper West Side, weather accommodating, must include a trip to Levain Bakery for their signature giant cookie that is much too intimidating to finish (but somehow always gets finished). Every visit I’m usually too overwhelmed by the smell of melting chocolate and toasted nuts to even think of any offerings they have, but this past time I looked up.

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“I’ll take one double chocolate chip cookie and one…ciabatta loaf?” I said with half-confidence. I didn’t know what I was going to do with the giant oval of a loaf, but I remember re-assuring my friend that it would be something good.

Getting myself to make meals with ingredients I don’t usually buy is my very tame version of a Chopped Challenge. My mystery basket ingredients are a mix of farmers market finds and things in my fridge that are about 12 hours from rotten. The vidalia onion sitting atop of our fridge, the black garlic in my freezer, the ribeye I was craving from Whole Foods, and some crumbled gorgonzola were all victims to this experiment of mine. What do ya know, everything turned out fine.

I’m calling these fancy crostinis, because I wouldn’t recommend just serving them to any ole guests. Well, at least not ones that can’t appreciate the pain that goes into slicing a rough ciabatta loaf, or acquiring black garlic, or the embarrassment of your smoke alarm going off because your cast iron skillet got too hot. Two of these is more than enough because the size of the ciabatta makes for an almost open-faced sandwich, so I made six. If you’ve got ciabatta or bread that is smaller in size, use the same amount of everything else and just make 12 smaller crostinis. Enjoy.

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 large ciabatta loaf or baguette, 6 slices

  • 1/2 lb boneless ribeye

  • 1/4 c salted butter

  • 1 large vidalia onion

  • 1 head black garlic - here’s where I get mine

  • 1/4 c white sugar or honey

  • 1 tbsp vegetable or neutral oil

  • pitcher of warm water on hand

  • 4 oz crumbled gorgonzola

  • chives for garnish

  • salt

  • ground black pepper

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Very thinly slice the onions, using a mandolin if you have one.

  2. Heat the vegetable oil in a large saute pan on medium-low, then add the sliced onions and stir until they start to be come translucent

  3. After about 5 minutes, add in the black garlic and sugar and turn the heat down to low. Gently smash the cloves until the onion mixture turns black.

  4. Add a splash of water to the mixture and stir, turn the heat down low, reduce until there’s no liquid left, and repeat this process a few times.

  5. Once the onions and garlic become jammy and almost gelatinous, add salt to taste. Remove from heat and allow to cool.

  6. Preheat the oven to 375. Bring the ribeye to room temperature and coat well in ground black pepper and salt. Do not be afraid!

  7. Heat the butter in a cast iron skillet on medium-high until melted, then add the steak. You should hear the sound of a sear.

  8. Cook the ribeye for about 4-5 minutes on each side (including the thin sides), basting with the butter from the pan. Place into the oven.

  9. Allow the steak to finish in the oven for about 10 minutes, or until a thermometer reads 135 (for medium rare!)

  10. Allow the steak to rest on a cutting board and toast the sliced ciabatta in the oven.

  11. To assemble the crostinis, layer the sliced ribeye, black garlic jam, crumbled gorgonzola, and fresh chives.

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