Initially, I was not overwhelmed with the idea of this Parmesan-Panko Steaks with Fresh Tomato Salsa recipe because it reminded me of the Swiss Steak dinners served when I was a kid. And if you all remember, I was one picky eater back then! But my palette—maybe not me so much 😉 —has matured since then so I thought giving cubed steak another chance was only fair, plus Russ really wanted to try it.
Cube steak is a cut of beef, usually top round or top sirloin, tenderized and flattened by pounding with a meat tenderizer. The name refers to the shape of the indentations left by that process, called “cubing.” They cook up quick and are a great way to get all the benefits of grass fed beef without breaking the bank.
Here, a crisp panko crust and an Italian-style fresh tomato salsa transform the humble cube steaks into something unique. They’re quite easy to make and don’t take the skill of a master chef to achieve.
Maybe because it is the cut of meat used for Chicken Fried Steak, that it became somewhat of a turn-off for me. And frankly, even though I loved the tomato salsa, the meat itself was just a “meh” for me—but my man Russ thought much more highly of those steaks. Hey, we’re not consistently on the same page with everything.
To address Russ’s wheat intolerance, we used gluten-free panko and flour. Pairing the meat with sautéed baby spinach upped the health value of the dinner and added another pop of color, always a plus in my book…
- 1 lb. ripe tomatoes, cut into medium dice (about 3 cups)
- 5 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
- 1/4 cup finely chopped white onion
- 1 Tbs. red wine vinegar
- 2 tsp. chopped fresh oregano
- 1 medium clove garlic, minced
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 4 beef cube steaks (1 to 1-1/4 lb. total)
- 1-1/2 oz. (1/3 cup) all-purpose flour
- 3 large eggs
- 1-1/2 cups plain panko
- 3/4 oz. finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano (3/4 cup using a rasp grater)
- Combine the tomatoes, 1 Tbs. of the oil, the onion, vinegar, oregano, garlic, 1 tsp. salt, and 3/4 tsp. pepper in a medium bowl.
- Season the steaks with 1/2 tsp. salt and 1/2 tsp. pepper. Put the flour in a shallow dish, beat the eggs in a second shallow dish, and combine the panko and Parmigiano in a third shallow dish.
- Dredge the steaks in the flour, then in the egg, letting any excess drip back into the dish, and then in the breadcrumb mixture.
- Heat 2 Tbs. of the oil in a 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat. Cook 2 of the steaks, flipping once, until nicely browned and just cooked through, 4 to 6 minutes total.
- Transfer to a platter, cover, and keep warm. Repeat with the remaining steaks and 2 Tbs. oil. Serve the steaks topped with the salsa.
By Carolyn Malcoun