Let’s talk about kitchen challenges, shall we?
Maybe you consider searing steak indoors a challenge. Or cooking hard-boiled eggs to be an unreachable feat. Perhaps the thought of whipping up homemade ice cream is so daunting that you continue to buy pint after pint, week after week (hey, I’ve been there).
For me the task of making candy, or melting sugar in general, is pretty much guaranteed to send me running in the opposite direction. To the candy aisle, to be exact. So, imagine how fast my pulse started racing when I read and mentally processed a kitchen challenge KitchenAid recently sent my way.
The first thing I saw after opening the email was, “We’d like to challenge you to serve S’more D’oeurves – a fun, grown up, bite-sized twist on everyone’s childhood favorite.” Ooo, fun! I thought. I can totally handle a bite-sized s’more. No problemo. I read a little further.
“The s’more d’oeuvres need to contain a savory element.” Ummm, ok? My wheels started turning.
“Savory MARSHMALLOWS, to be exact!” Crash. That was my body hitting the floor. Savory marshmallows?! Who in the what?!
As Ben peeled me off the hardwood, he reminded me that part of the fun of being in the kitchen is experimenting with techniques and flavors you’ve never tried or had before. Touché, dear husband. Touché. That being said, Steak Crostini with Bleu Cheese Marshmallows definitely fits the bill!
Steak Crostini with Bleu Cheese Marshmallows utilizes my culinary pride and joy, aka my pale pink KitchenAid® Stand Mixer that Ben got me years ago. It’s what puts the mallow in marshmallow. Or something like that.
Anyway, its tilt-head design, whisk attachment, and 10-speeds were just what I needed to make sticky, ooey-gooey, SAVORY marshmallows. Ay yi yi! (I honest to God cannot stop saying ay yi yi after this season of The Bachelor. Anyone else?) By the way, I’m just now realizing I’ve never named my mixer! Any suggestions?
The result was this: Steak Crostini with Bleu Cheese Marshmallows. I know. It’s absolutely insane, but I tell you what – serve this sweet and savory hor d’oeuvres recipe at your next party or get-together and your guests will be talking about it for WEEKS. They weren’t even that hard to make!
Crunchy crostini (I made this before I got my CD diagnosis!) are topped with buttery seared steak and homemade bleu cheese marshmallows then broiled until golden brown before being topped with microgreens and a crack of pepper. The result is oddly addicting. The first couple bites take getting used to, for certain, but if the amount I ended up polishing off by the end of this photo shoot is any indication, you’re gonna want to give these savory s’mores a try sometime!
Start by making the Bleu Cheese Marshmallows. You’ll need – you guessed it – blue cheese! I’m lucky to have world-famous Maytag Blue Cheese made about 20 minutes away so, of course, I used a big ‘ol hunk. You’ll need 4oz blue cheese.
Put the cheese in a food processor with 1 Tablespoon milk (or cream) then process until smooth, scraping the sides down as needed.
Scrape the cheese into the bottom of the electric mixer bowl then make a well in the center and pour in 3 packets unflavored gelatin (3 Tablespoons.)
Next add 1/3 cup cold water and stir to combine. Let the mixture sit for 10 minutes while you make the sugar syrup for the marshmallows. By the way, the gelatin will semi-harden in the 10 minutes, but it’s fine. The hot sugar syrup will melt it down.
Syrup time! In a medium-sized saucepan over medium heat add 1/3 cup water, 1-1/2 cups sugar, and 1 cup light corn syrup. Gently stir the mixture being careful not to splash sugar crystals up the side of the pan.
Let the mixture come to a boil over medium heat then continue to let it cook, undisturbed (i.e., don’t stir it) until it reaches 240 degrees. The whole process should take about 10 minutes – just enough time to let the gelatin do its thang. I’d say this was the most pulse pounding part of the marshmallow making process, by the way. Boiling sugar? Yikes! But really, it was fine. I didn’t even have to stir it!
Anyway, set the mixer to the lowest speed then slowly stream the syrup down the side of the mixing bowl. Next sprinkle in 1/2 teaspoon salt then gradually increase the speed to high over the next 30 seconds.
Continue to whip the marshmallow mixture on high for 10-12 minutes, or until thickened, then pour it into a prepared 8×8 baking dish.
That’s just a dish sprayed with nonstick spray then sprinkled with tons of corn starch. You can’t taste corn starch and it will keep the marshmallows from sticking so REALLY lay it on there!
Generously sprinkle the top with more cornstarch then cover the dish and pop it into the refrigerator to setup for one hour.
After the marshmallows have cooled, run a knife around the outside edges then turn them out onto a cutting board and sprinkle the exposed side with more corn starch (are you detecting a theme here?) Spray a pizza cutter very well with nonstick spray then cut the marshmallows into small cubes. You’ll only need 1/2″ x 1/2″ cubes for the s’more d’oeurves, but it’s difficult to cut them that small since they’re so sticky at this point, so cut into bigger pieces then trim later.
Dunk all the newly cut sides of the marshmallows into more corn starch then place them in a dish, cover, and refrigerate until ready to use. THAT’S IT. Bleu cheese marshmallows = made! I seriously thought it’d be so much more difficult!
Onto the crostini. This is the easy part.
Slice a baguette into 1/4″ slices then mist or brush both sides with extra virgin olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Bake for 5-7 minutes at 350 degrees, or until golden brown. You can do this a day ahead of time – just cool completely before storing in an airtight container.
Finally, rub two 8oz strip steaks, that have been trimmed of excess fat, with extra virgin olive oil then season generously on both sides with salt and pepper.
Sear in a skillet over medium-high heat for 3 minutes on one side, then flip and sear for 2 minutes on the other side for medium rare.
Let the steaks rest for 10 minutes then thinly slice against the grain. You could also do this a day ahead of time. Just cook, slice, then store in the fridge. The blast from the broiler will heat the thin slices of steak in no time.
Time to assemble. Place slices of steak, trimming if they’re long, on each crostini then top with a 1/2″ cube of marshmallow. Like I said, your marshmallows will probably be too big, so just trim ’em up. Place your oven rack to the very top then broil these suckers for about 30 seconds – just until the marshmallow starts to melt and turn golden brown.
Just before serving, top each crostini with a few pieces of microgreens (I used watercress) and a crack of fresh pepper. Prepare to be impressed!
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Steak Crostini with Bleu Cheese Marshmallows
Steak Crostini with Bleu Cheese Marshmallows are sure to start a conversation at your next party!
- For the Bleu Cheese Marshmallows (makes about 35 - 2x2" marshmallows):
- 1/2 cup blue cheese
- 1 Tablespoon milk
- 2/3 cup cold water, divided
- 3 Tablespoons gelatin (3 packets)
- 1-1/2 cups sugar
- 1 cup light corn syrup
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup cornstarch
- For the steak crostini:
- 1 baguette, cut into 1/4" thick slices
- extra virgin olive oil
- salt & pepper
- 2-8oz strip steaks, about 3/4" thick, trimmed of excess fat
- 2 cups microgreens, like watercress (could use arugula)
- For the Bleu Cheese Marshmallows: Spray a 8x8" baking dish with nonstick spray then dust generously with 1/4 cup corn starch. Tap any extra out, reserving it for later, then set aside.
- Add bleu cheese and milk to the bowl of a food processor then process until smooth, scraping down sides as necessary. Transfer cheese to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment then make a well in the center and add 1/3 cup cold water and gelatin. Stir then let sit and bloom for 10 minutes. (Gelatin will semi-harden during this time - it's ok!)
- Add remaining 1/3 cup water, corn syrup, and sugar to a medium-sized saucepan over medium heat. Gently stir, trying not to splash sugar crystals on the sides of the pan, then let mixture come to a boil and cook without stirring until it reaches 240 degrees.
- Turn electric mixer on low then stream sugar mixture down the side of the bowl. Gradually add salt while increasing the speed of the mixer to high over the next 30 seconds or so then whip on high for 10-12 minutes, or until mixture has thickened.
- Spray a spatula with nonstick spray then scrape marshmallow into prepared baking dish. Dust the top very well with more corn starch then cover and refrigerate for 1 hour.
- Scrape a knife around the sides of the baking dish then turn cooled marshmallows out onto a flat surface and dust exposed sides very well with cornstarch. Spray a pizza cutter very well with nonstick spray then cut into small squares, re-spraying pizza cutter as needed. Dunk cut sides of each marshmallow into remaining corn starch then place in a large dish and place back into the refrigerator until ready to use. Marshmallows will stay good for up to a week.
- For the steak crostini: Preheat oven to 350 degrees then place baguette slices on a baking sheet and spray/brush both sides with extra virgin olive oil, and season with salt and pepper. Bake for 5-7 minutes or until golden brown. Can be made a day ahead of time - cool completely before storing in a ziplock bag or airtight container.
- Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat then rub steaks with extra virgin olive oil and season each side liberally with salt and pepper. Add steaks to hot skillet then sear for 3 minutes on one side then flip and sear for 2 minutes on the other side for medium-rare. Remove steaks to a cutting board then let rest for 10 minutes before thinly slicing against the grain. Can cook steak a day ahead of time - cook then slice and store in the fridge.
- Place oven rack to the very top of the oven then preheat broiler and line a baking sheet with foil. Place a piece of steak on top of a crostini (trim steak if it's too long) then place a 1/2" cube of marshmallow on top (cut larger marshmallows into several smaller ones.) Broil for 20-30 seconds or until marshmallow just starts to turn golden brown. Top with microgreens and cracked black pepper just before serving.
Adapted from Elain Evans.
This recipe is courtesy of Iowa Girl Eats, http://iowagirleats.com.
I cannot tell you how GOOD I felt after making these savory s’more d’oeurves. Not only was it a total blast thinking “outside the stick” (the s’more stick, y’all) but I am so proud that I made marshmallows. Me – the store-bought-candy queen! I can’t wait to make more sweet AND savory versions – I’m thinking yummy holiday gifts, for sure!