Steak Sandwich a la Perfection
This recipe is best paired with a Rogue Dead Guy Ale.
Steaks are complex things. Most people think throwing them on a barbie or on a grill to make nice little black lines is all they need for a good steak, but pros know that temperatures make all the difference. As well as that, the speed at which it reaches that temperature makes a gigantic difference to the overall flavor and tenderness. The rule is: the slower the better.
Bread is not just bread, and any serious bread lover lives a frustrated life here in China! Stale, sweetened, unloved and unconsidered loaves never seem to cease lining the shelves of supermarkets and bakeries.
To make this recipe a success, get your oven mits on, as we’re going to make a white olive oil sandwich bread with pumpkin seed and honey, which will balance the savoriness of the steak perfectly.
A hint of salad and a homemade olive oil mayonnaise makes this perfection. For the steak:
1 small-medium steak per person
1TBS sunflower oil
For the bread:
500g white, unbleached bread flour
300g spring water
1 packet instant yeast
30ml olive oil
50g pumpkin seeds
30ml honey, warmed
For the mayonnaise:
1 egg yolk
1TBS sherry vinegar
150-200ml olive oil
salt and pepper
1tsp dijon mustard
For the sandwich:
Fresh Radicchio lettuce, sliced with a sharp knife and soaked in ice water
A couple of organic, on-the-vine cherry tomatoes that have never been stored in the refrigerator.
For the bread:
Start with a process known as autolysis, which means leaving the flour and the water together for 15-30 minutes undisturbed with no other ingredients. This greatly reduces kneading time and aids strength of the proteins in the flour.
Add the salt, olive oil, and yeast (without hydrating), and mix to form a solid dough.
Knead by hand for 20 minutes (or 10 minutes on medium speed in an electric mixer) or until ‘window pane’ is possible (take a floured piece of the dough and stretch to see if light can pass through it without breaking), and cover with a damp tea towel in an oiled bowl at room temperature until twice its volume (an hour or two during autumn temperatures).
Knock the air out and knead again, flouring the surface as little as possible, for another 20 minutes.
To shape the loaf, roll into a ball and pinch the bottom squeezing the dough into an imaginary hole on one side to gain some surface tension. Place in a bread tin and paint on the warm honey, then sprinkle on the pumpkin seeds. Allow to rise until 2/3 its volume then bake in a pre-heated oven above a tray of boiling water at 200 degrees Celsius.
Bake until rapping the bottom produces a hollow sound (around 40 minutes). Remove from the tin and cool on a tray for several hours before slicing.
For the Steak:
Place a clean frying pan on maximum heat until as hot as possible (10-20 minutes depending on the thickness of the base) and add a tablespoon of sunflower oil. Carefully place the steak in the pan laying it down facing away from you as to not spit as it meets the hot oil.
Use a pair of tongs and cook until a deep brown on all sides (30 seconds to a minute at the very most for each side) then remove from the heat as to not cook any further.
The next trick is to vacuum seal this; there are several expensive and inexpensive techniques for doing this, but this simplest is to put the steak in a sandwich bag with a good locking system that allows all air to escape and squeeze the air out before sealing.
Place the vacuum sealed steak in hot water at 45 degrees Celsius for several hours. The longer you can leave it, the better it will taste. Ensuring the temperature doesn’t get hotter than 50 degrees.
When the bread is nearly ready, increase the temperature of the water to 55 degrees, and give it half an hour.
For the mayonnaise:
Add the egg yolk, salt, pepper, mustard and the vinegar to a bowl and whisk. Slowly add the oil 1 tablespoon at a time whilst whisking continuously. An electric whisk makes this much easier, but don’t use a blender.
To assemble the sandwich:
Place a piece of lettuce, shaken to remove the water, on a thickly sliced, lightly toasted piece of bread, and add the mayonnaise. Add the steak, allowed to cool slightly, and then the tomatoes.
Using organic tomatoes means less washing is needed, which means more flavor is retained. Slice into eighths using a very sharp knife, and make a small bed on top of the steak. Finish with the other piece of bread, also lightly toasted and given a generous coating of mayonnaise, then slice in half to serve with a cooled (but not too cold) bottle of Dead Guy.
No meal is perfected without a dessert. Try pairing our brew of the season to a Montezuma 73% Dark Chilli and chocolate bar. Montezuma is an award-winning British company that focuses on organic, fair trade and high quality. Their warming chilli bar provides an Aztec-style flavor that draws out the natural sweetness of the brew effortlessly, leaving a temptingly malty and sweet combination that lasts. Available from City Shop for 43.50RMB.
Perhaps you prefer enjoying a cigar after dinner. Any of the cigar bars or cigar importers in town should stock a Saint Luis Ray Regios in their humidors. This Cuban beauty offers a subtle blend of dark roasted tobacco that gives an inkling of nutty chocolate, coffee, gingerbread and sweet honey. A perfect way to spend a naughty evening.
If you prefer a healthy life then consider sipping a bottle with a star fruit. This fantastic looking fruit hits the market shelves between summer to winter and is an excellent companion to a Dead Guy. The sweet variety has a hint of citrus that draws on the earthy and spicy notes of the hops in the beer, while playing down the sweetness to leave a well-bittered taste that can be very enjoyable in this style of beer.
If cheese is more your style, or you prefer the more traditional pairing of beer to food, then match this beer with a zesty goats cheese. A strong flavored feta will not only provide the kick this brew needs to show its spicy, earthy qualities, but also gives the carbonation more weight, leaving a sweetly thick mouthfeel that never seems to end.
Think autumn and take this brew outdoors. The heavy heat of summer should finally be passing, and winter has yet to take its chilly clutch. A picnic on a sunny day at any of the parks would be a perfect way to enjoy this beer. Take a deep breath as the wind picks up, carrying the amber and golden leaves off branches like heavy feathers, scattering them around you. A faultless way to relax this fall.
Dead Guy is available at most of the more specialist bars around town, or can be bought either online or in store at Feidan (www.feidan.cn) for 18.80RMB.
Article by Chris Lawrence