Okay, if perhaps not the ultimate, certainly one of the best steak sandwiches you can stuff into your face: a good, hefty lunch dish, or a quickly prepared but filling and satisfying supper. As with the Club Sandwich, you could serve this with chips/French fries, and/or a salad.
It is quite economical, as you are using a smaller portion of meat than the one you may put directly on your plate for a steak supper – one typical 8oz/225g cut will easily make two of these baguettes. Of course, use more if you are hungry, or in an exceptionally carnivorous mood.
I used to work in a restaurant that also supplied the food to the next-door pub. Many of the pub regulars would spend their afternoons moving back and forth from their pint to the bookmakers on the corner, placing their bets, then returning to the beer, and perhaps ordering one of these to celebrate or console. I have never found out if our head chef invented the Bookmaker’s Baguette, to honour these horse-loving punters, or if it is a time-honoured combination, perhaps under a different name: there are certainly thousands of steak sandwich recipes out there. I did a quick Google just before writing this, and I found it on the menu of only a few places; maybe they’re all establishments at which he worked. Whatever, you do not need to be a gambler, or frequenter of race-tracks (or pubs) to enjoy it.
There are differing versions of the Bookmaker’s Baguette: the essentials of mine are steak, onions, mushrooms and tomatoes, with a slathering of mustard, on a good chunk of split French bread. As usual, I encourage you to invent your own version, with fillings (or breads) of your choice.
I would suggest you use rump steak here; fillet is more tender, but often has less flavour and yet costs substantially more.
Ingredients: (per person)
A good, crusty baguette, or one-portion sized chunk of French bread
4oz/110g steak (preferably rump)
Half an onion, peeled and thickly sliced
About 2oz/55g mushrooms, wiped clean and sliced
One good tomato, sliced
Mustard of your choice
Salt and pepper
A little oil (or oil and butter) for frying
Note: you may warm the baguette in a low oven if you like: I tend not to.
Season the steak, mushrooms and onions with salt and pepper as you go, to your taste.
If the steak is thick, beat it out with a tenderising mallet; if you don’t have one of these, cover the steak with clingfilm or a clean cloth, and use a heavy rolling pin or similar.
Fry the mushrooms and the onions, preferably separately. You want to cook the mushrooms to the stage where they give up their watery liquids (thus concentrating the flavour) and take on a little golden colour. The onions should soften slightly, but still retain their texture and bite, and also have a little colour – you are not looking for the soft, deep brown “hotdog” onions here. Both of these jobs will take less than five minutes over a brisk heat. You can do this ahead of time, and either keep warm or quickly reheat when it is time to assemble your sandwich.
Fry or grill/broil the steak: I prefer a medium-rare finish here, as too much juice will make the bread soggy. This will take only a couple of minutes a side. Once cooked, rest in a warm place for a few minutes, then slice into long, juicy strips.
Split the baguette, butter or not as your prefer, then spread with mustard and fill with the strips of steak, the tomatoes, the mushrooms and the onions.
You could add more salad, if you like, such as shredded lettuce and thinly sliced cucumber. Sliced red bell peppers, either fried with the onions or raw, would also work well. Much as I like cheese, I think that this would be “over the top” here, but, as always, it’s up to you.
This makes a good meal on its own, but as I suggested above, you could serve this with chips/French fries, a salad, or anything else you like.