The sandwich that put Philly on the comfort-food map keeps its meaty, cheesy soul but loses 750 calories.
Sidney Fry, MS, RD
February 14, 2012
1 of 6Photo: Randy Mayor
What hot dogs are to Coney Island and wings are to Buffalo, the cheesesteak is to Philadelphia: iconic, tasty, and loaded with salt and fat. The Philly cheesesteak is a heap of chopped meat drowning in melted cheese "product" on a long bun, with more than a day's worth of saturated fat.
To hit all the comforting notes, we start with flank steak, thinly sliced and modestly seasoned—this is a much leaner cut than the traditional rib-eye. The meat gets further beefing up with portobellos and savory grilled peppers and onions. And just forget the artificial cheese sauce: We create a lean white sauce with real cheese—just enough Parm-Regg and provolone to deliver full satisfaction with less sodium and saturated fat. Meaty, gooey, and delightfully messy, this is the type of sandwich you'll crave all year.
The Classic: • 1,151calories per sandwich • 27.3 grams saturated fat • 1,480 milligrams sodium
The Makeover: • 397calories per sandwich • 4.9 grams saturatedfat • 637 milligrams sodium
2 of 6Photo: Randy Mayor
Flank Steak vs. Rib-Eye Steak
A hearty 12-ounce portion of flank steak and meaty mushrooms sub in for the pound and a half of fatty, marbled rib-eye to save 346 calories and 13.6g of saturated fat per sandwich.
3 of 6Photo: Randy Mayor
Provolone and Parmigiano-Reggiano Cheeses vs. Processed Cheese Product
Processed cheese doesn't deliver the real flavor, and the swap saves 20 calories, 5.8g of saturated fat, and 820mg of sodium.
4 of 6Photo: Randy Mayor
A memorable cheesesteak depends on the juicy quality of the meat. Here's how to get tender, tasty bites from a leaner cut.
Partially freeze the meat to allow for thinner slicing. Slice across the grain, not with it. Use a sharp knife, and hold it at a slight diagonal.
5 of 6Photo: Randy Mayor
Salt boosts flavor and tenderizes. Use kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper. Season the steak after slicing to ensure maximum coverage.
6 of 6Photo: Randy Mayor
Bring the steak to room temperature before searing. Heat the oil to a shimmer in a hot pan, and quickly sear the steak just until no longer pink. Stir constantly for an even sear.