On Friday, unusually, we were both at home. The weather was absolutely dismal (even Urchin accepted that it was too wet to be outdoors) and I felt that a good lunch was important for marking the occasion and lifting the spirits.
Now, when we have pub lunches, we both find it quite difficult to look beyond a steak sandwich. At one point I was compiling notes on the various offerings of the pubs in the area, but then I lost my camera with all the steak sandwich pictures and haven't picked up that idea again. But we both definitely Have Views on what makes a good steak sandwich.
Firstly, the bread has to be good. You are putting hot, juicy meat into it, so flabby white sliced bread is going to collapse to wallpaper paste in an instant. You want something with a bit of texture.
For my steak sandwiches, I pulled my last portion of baguette dough out of the freezer. I blanched and caramelised 6 or 7 fat garlic cloves and rolled them into the dough as I shaped my baguette. The crisp crust and tender, open crumb are just the thing, and the bites of caramelised garlic add interest to the flavour.
The second most important thing is of course the steak itself. You cannot make a good steak sandwich with those pathetic thin "minute steak" things. You need a good quality, thickly cut steak. It needs to be cooked (I cook mine a little bit more than I do ordinarily, because I don't like the blood-streaked bread look), seasoned well, rested and then sliced thinly.
And lastly, you need to think about condiments and additional fillings. Fried onions are a good thing. A few thinly sliced mushrooms, cooked in the pan with the steak are nice. A slice of tomato. A few rocket leaves. Chutney, or mustard, or mayonnaise, or mayonnaise AND mustard. The important thing is not to throw everything at it: just a couple of extra, complementary flavours so that the steak is still the star ingredient.
After a much longer conversation on the subject than most people would think necessary, we had a thick smear of horseradish cream and a few baby spinach leaves in with our steaks. Utter perfection with a bottle of Hoegaarden beer.
This heavenly sandwich is just the thing for Deb's Souper (soup, salad and sammie) Sunday so do pop over to her blog and see what other bloggers have been cooking up this week.