Monday, March 3, 2008

Barguy's Focaccia

I've mentioned Chip Shots Grill and Sports Pub before, and today's blog entry is about one of my favorite sandwiches, which was "invented" at that pub.

I first had focaccia at a restaurant called Houlihan's, which I first visited when they had a restaurant in Quincy Market in Boston. That restaurant has closed and there is another in its place, but one of the sandwiches they had there was a "Brentwood Chicken Grill," which intrigued me because I grew up in Brentwood, NY, and also because the sandwich was served on "focaccia bread." (Note: the chain now has a "Brentwood Chicken Sandwich" which is now served on a whole wheat bun. Pity!)

Focaccia is a bread which is usually seasoned with olive oil, onions, herbs, cheese, etc. There are probably as many variations in how a focaccia is made as there are variations in how pizza is prepared. In Houlihan's case, the sandwich had some cheese, rosemary, and a nice texture. I had this sandwich numerous times, even after Houlihan's in Quincy Market closed--I found a location in Lake Grove, NY, across the street from the Smith Haven Mall on Middle Country Road.

Anyway, at Chip Shots, I saw a number of focaccia sandwiches in their specials list, but never bothered to order them. After all, the idea of teriyaki chicken on a focaccia roll didn't really appeal to me. However, one day, I saw a special focaccia sandwich with the simple name "Roast Beef, Swiss Cheese, and Mushrooms." I ordered the sandwich and was immediately hooked. THIS was a sandwich I really liked! I liked it so much that I came back the very next day to order it again!

When I came back the next week, the specials list changed. I mentioned to one of the owners (Shannon) that the focaccia sandwich I had the previous week was one of the first times I ever came back to Chip Shots solely for the food (I really like the atmosphere and the people there, which is my main reason for frequenting that place). Shannon assured me that I could order that sandwich off the menu, and there would never be a problem. I took her up on that, and it now is one of the only meals I eat there... when I like something, I like it!

Recently, that focaccia sandwich reappeared on the specials list at Chip Shots, only this time it was called "Barguy's Focaccia." The name "Barguy" is one that I used when logging into the NTN trivia games that were once at the pub, and is the wait staff's nickname for me. I was honored; this was the second time a special was named after me!

This past weekend, I happened to notice some focaccia rolls at Hannahford's when doing some grocery shopping. I immediately got the idea to share my favorite sandwich with Sandra. I looked at the price of roast beef, and found it prohibitive--more expensive than some steaks! So, instead of using roast beef, I used shaved steak, which was less than half the price of the roast beef. (Chip Shots once made it as a "steak sandwich" for me when they ran out of roast beef when I ordered it.)

I made the sandwich and omitted the mushrooms for Sandra's sandwich, since she doesn't like them. We sliced up some baby Vidalia onions as well. Sandra loved the sandwich as much as I did. The two of us have now agreed to make this an occasional lunch meal on weekends.

The recipe below is my own adaptation of the Chip Shots recipe. It is the version that I made this past weekend. My sandwich included the mushrooms; Sandra's didn't.

Barguy's Focaccia (Roast Beef, Swiss, Mushrooms)

Source:Chip Shots Grill and Sports Pub
Yield:One sandwich


1 medium sized onion focaccia roll

2-4 slices aged Swiss cheese

1 Tbs butter

1 Tbs Olive oil

¼ small onion, sliced

1 oz sliced mushrooms (canned is fine)

½ lb roast beef (shaved steak will also do)

Preheat oven to 400°F. Slice the focaccia roll into two slices and toast so that the inside gets a bit of color. Keep oven on after you remove the bread, and immediately add the slices of Swiss cheese evenly onto the sandwich halves.

Meanwhile, melt butter and olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add sliced onions and mushrooms to the butter/oil mixture, stirring occasionally until onions are translucent, about five minutes.

Cut roast beef slices in half or quarters, and add to the skillet and cook for another couple minutes until the redness in the beef starts to disappear. If using shaved steak, cook a bit longer until the meat is about medium done. Mix the meat with the onions, mushrooms, and then move to plate lined with absorbent paper.

Add the drained meat, onions, and mushrooms onto the sandwich halves on top of the cheese. Assemble the sandwich, adding toothpicks if necessary to keep the halves together.

Toast in the oven for 3-4 minutes until cheese melts.

Serve immediately.

Bon Appetit!

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