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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
|1 Sirloin Steak
2 Small Ciabatta Buns
1 tsp. English Mustard
2 tsp. Mayonaise
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
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