How to Make the Perfect Steak Sandwich

I’m running with this 'Perfect' idea now, and this time I am taking a lunchtime classic and one of my all-time favourite things to eat - the steak sandwich.

I have sniffed around Manchester and picked out some ingredients, tips and tricks to put together to form the most perfect, most delicious, and most beautiful steak sandwich this city has ever seen with some help from some of the finest establishments on our doorstep.

Sirloin Steak

I understand that the ‘perfect’ cut of steak is probably a subject of much debate, but if anything is going to change your mind it is going to be Katsouris Deli just off Deansgate. They use a cut of sirloin in their sandwich is it is just divine. It has lots of flavour, a juicy layer of fat and when cooked well with a rare centre and a frazzled outside it makes the perfect base for the ultimate steak sandwich. Oh, and no well-done steaks here please, if you have your steak like this then just stop reading here.

Caramelised Onions

I love a bit of sweetness in with my steak, and caramelised onions are just the way to get it. The sandwich at Tender Cow at Mackie Mayor is a complete lesson in how caramelised onions should be done- they are sticky, sweet, tender and the perfect accompaniment to a juicy bit of steak.

Low and slow is the way to get the best results. Sweat them down like a sumo wrestler in a sauna with little splashes of water until they are soft before adding some sugar to get all hot and sticky and delicious.

Smoked Cheese

The addition of cheese is not a standard choice unless you have promoted your sandwich to a Philly Cheesesteak, of course, but classically speaking I don’t think a little bit of cheese ever did anyone any harm.

The sandwich at Folk in West Didsbury uses smoked cheddar which I am now obsessed with as a result- so I think this is a fantastic addition for a bit of gooeyness and a little smoky tang. It simply must be melted though- so I would suggest sticking it under the hot grill for a minute or two for best results.

Toasted Ciabatta

Like the steak, the bread is also the subject of much debate. Half of the office voted for a baguette and the other half for Ciabatta but it’s my brainchild so I’m choosing the latter- It has to be toasted though as otherwise, it is going to have the texture of a dehydrated sponge.

Toasted Ciabatta is both crisp and soft with the absorbent power to suck up all those delicious steak juices without getting soggy- which is just what you need from your bread in any sandwich context. Disagree? Go try the steak sandwich at The Wharf and get back to me.

Oh, and just for a little extra tip, rub the toasted bread with a little-roasted garlic- you will never look back.

Chimichurri

So, we’ve got our beef, we’ve got sweetness from the onions, smoky cheese, crunchy bread now all we need is a little tang and some spice. That’s when Chimichurri comes in, as inspired by the epic steak sandwich at Beastro.

This delicious sauce hails from South America and is typically sided with steak. It consists of herbs (parsley, coriander, mint) mixed with shallots, lots of garlic, red chilli, vinegar and lots and lots of olive oil. This just really takes any steak sandwich to the next level, so I would be mad not to throw it in.

French Dip

Alright, this might be a bit ‘out there’ but I like something to dip my sandwich in to keep it nice and…moist.  French Dip, or gravy to you and I, is the latest thing and I have to say that I am a big fan. Who in their right mind wouldn’t want a little pot of gravy for dipping with any meal? If you aren’t convinced go and try the French Dip at Hawksmoor – I guarantee you won’t eat another meal without gravy ever again. It is mega.

Goes without saying: English mustard, mayonnaise, and rocket.

How to Make the Perfect Steak Sandwich

Ingredients

Method

1 Sirloin Steak
2 Small Ciabatta Buns
1 tsp. English Mustard
2 tsp. Mayonaise
Handful Rocket
2 Slices Smoked Cheddar
1 Medium Red Onion
3 tsp. brown sugar
Splash Balsamic VinegarFor the Chimichurri
Handful fresh mint
Handful fresh parsley
1 Medium red hilli
1 Shallot
3-4 Cloves garlic
4 tbsp. Extra virgin olive oil
2 tbsp. Red wine vinegarFor the Gravy
1 Beef stock pot
200ml red wine
2 tsp. redcurrent jelly
1 tsp. Plain flour

Salt & Pepper to taste

  1. Start with the chimichurri by finely dicing all the ingredients and putting them in a bowl. Add the vinegar, oil and season with plenty of salt and pepper. Leave to marinate in the fridge.
  2. For the onions, slice them finely and transfer to a hot pan with a little olive oil. Turn the heat right down and cook them slowly over about ten minutes or so, adding splashes of water every two minutes.
  3. Once they are translucent and very soft, add the sugar and turn up the heat. Keep stirring until they are brown and caramelised and then turn them off and leave to cool slightly.
  4. For the steak, make sure it is at room temperature before you start to cook. Pat it down with a bit of kitchen paper so it is dry and season on both sides with plenty of salt and pepper.
  5. Get your pan screaming hot and add a little oil. Pop the steak in and cook on both sides for 2 minutes with a further two minutes on the fat layer to get it crispy.
  6. Rest your steak for five minutes before serving. Toast your ciabatta in the hot pan you have taken the steak out of.
  7. Deglaze the pan with the red wine of red wine and be sure to scrape up all the burnt bits from the steak. Add the stock cube and 250ml of water. Let this all melt and then add the redcurrant jelly and sprinkle in the flour a little at a time whilst stirring. Turn the heat up and let the gravy reduce until it is thick and sticky.
  8. Spread the mustard on the bread and top with the sliced steak, onions and cheese. Stick this under the grill for 1-2 minutes. Top this with rocket and the chimichurri and serve with gravy for dipping.

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