Easy recipes for the newbie cook, the beginner in the kitchen, the nervous novice: we all had to start somewhere, and you can start right here.

Monday, 7 March 2011

Marinated Steak Sandwich: Quick, Easy and Delicious

I mentioned in my last post that as I am moving house in the next few days I am looking to feed myself quickly and easily, while still maintaining quality, taste and flavour.  Food that cooks in minutes, and can be stuffed into some kind of bread, obviously comes into this category.  Last night, I had in my possession an 8oz sirloin steak which I had to stretch to feed two people.  I could have made the Bookmaker’s Baguette that I described in a previous recipe, but decided to ring the changes a little and come up with a variation.

Dicing the meat helps it go further (and cook faster), and marinating ensures that it will remain tasty and succulent.  Although there are an infinite amount of variations on marinades, they broadly fall into two categories: short and long.  With long marinades we are trying to tenderize an otherwise tough piece of meat, as well as adding flavour.  With short marinades, we are basically just adding flavour and a bit more juiciness.  Contrary to usual practice, I believe that it is a mistake to add ingredients such as alcohol, salt, sugar and citrus to long marinades: although these will tenderize the meat and add flavour, they will also draw out juices, and are thus counter-productive.  Better to keep the long marinades heavy on the oil and aromatics, and reserve the booze etc to the short marinades, as here, where they will add all the flavours we want, but won’t have time to do any harm.

As always with these types of recipes, feel free to take the basic idea and run with it.  This would work well with any kind of meat, most fish/seafood and is well-suited to vegetarian versions, with good mushrooms, say, or with meat substitutes.  Likewise with the marinade: if you don’t have the exact ingredients I use, or don’t like any of them, adapt as required.  Use whatever bread you like, too.  This could become a sandwich on “normal” bread, a filling for a floury bap or split pitta bread, or rolled into a tortilla etc.

I know that directions to add “a splash” of this or that irritate some people, but this is not a recipe of precision.  Frankly, unless I am baking or making certain sauces, I rarely measure or weigh anything.  Use your judgement and your own tastes.

Marinated Steak Sandwich (serves two)

8oz/225gram good steak such as rump, sirloin or fillet, diced into bite-sized chunks
1 crusty baguette

For the marinade:
Enough good olive oil to cover the meat while marinating
A splash of red wine
A splash of brandy
A splash of balsamic vinegar
2 cloves of garlic, crushed or very thinly sliced
Plenty of salt and pepper

Whisk the marinade ingredients together in a small bowl, add the meat, and stir well to make sure it is well coated.  Cover and leave to stand for half an hour.

Cut baguette into portions and split.

Heat a frying pan or wok until very hot, then add the meat with its marinade.  Don’t stir-fry as such: allow the meat to gain colour before turning.  The whole process should take no longer than 2-3 minutes, unless you like the meat well-done.  Take care not to burn the garlic, so adjust the heat as necessary.

Put the meat into the baguettes, spooning over the juices, and serve.

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