Kitchen Chemistry: Steak on a Sandwich on a Budget

Adam here. It seems that about 60% of my posts involve flank steak. It may be difficult to understand our enthusiasm for this cut of meat until you've tried a few of our recipes. Flank steak is fantastic hot or cold. It can be paired with sweet, sour, savory, or pungent sauces. It is one of the few foods (along with stew and roasted turkey) that actually tastes better as a leftover. Additionally, for a couple like Elizabeth and I, a two-pound steak is usually enough for dinner, a midnight snack, a treat for Matilda, and a brown bag lunch the next day. This is very economical (in terms of time AND money) for a struggling family scraping by in the most expensive state in the union.

This steak started out (along with two of its brethren, which were devoured before we could locate the camera) at Andronico's market, and then made its way to the Aquatic Park in West Berkeley for a brief charcoal grilling. Grilling meat at the park is a truly Hobbesian experience, which requires one to build a fire and defend your meat from stray dogs, stray owners, and the recently released prisoners who inhabit said park. You also have to drink your beer on the sly, as that sort of thing can lead to a heavy fine (the only hope California has of balancing its budget is to fine people who can't afford their own grill).

I marinated this steak in vegetable oil, apple cider vinegar, salt, black pepper, onion powder, and a tiny bit of cayenne pepper prior to grilling. Traditional charcoal briquettes were used, along with 50 mL of hexane from the lab to accelerate the process. The flank steak was then refrigerated (to immobilize the juices) and slice thin on a diagonal to elongate the grain of the meat. I will persist in calling this a sashimi cut until someone with credentials corrects me.

Our sourdough loaf was toasted and lightly coated with white truffle oil. Be aware that truffle oil permanently "truffle odorizes" anything that it touches. No amount of detergent can take truffle oil down. You should dedicate a basting brush for this ingredient and segregate it from the rest of your cooking tools.

My bleu cheese spread was prepared with one part crumbled Gorgonzola, one part Cambozola, one part cream cheese, 1/2 part unsalted butter, and salt and pepper to taste, warmed and mixed to a creamy consistency.

The rest is easy. Shove everything (including some baby arugula) between two slices of oiled bread and enjoy. We recommend pairing your sandwich with a strong red wine, as mere beer cannot compete with such a powerfully flavored entree. 

I included sliced Braeburn apples and a few green grapes as a palate cleanser between bites and sips.  Elizabeth testifies that the slice apple works well as another layer in the sandwich. (Editor's note: The apple is a sweet and crisp element that lightens each bite, making it much more suited for a warm-weather luncheon!) However, I scarfed mine before I could try this out, and she wouldn't give me a bite of hers. I guess that's something to try next time...

5 Have Spoken.:

Sam said...

Hi, This looks amazing. I love the apples,you did a fabulous job. I wish you had a follow button because I would hit it for sure. I'll be sure to come back anyway tho. Hope you'll find a minute to come to my blog some time where sandwiches like this RULE. tHANKS, kERI (a.k.a. Sam)

Kilgore Trout said...

That looks unbelievably delicious! I may duplicate that preparation up here in the second most expensive place to live in the US, Seattle. (actually I don't know that to be a fact, but it does seem like our bold leaders are doing everything they can to catch up with CA).

March is not too early to fire up the barbee. I'll do it on my own (and the bank's) property, so no paper bag required for the beer (until they regulate that too).

Theresa Cheek said...

thanks for the info on the truffle oil...I will dedicate something solely for it's use! You have a great blog!

Elizabeth said...

Sam... Thanks so much for stopping by- love that you have a sandwich blog! We're working on a blog redesign, and we'll definitely have a follow button- be sure to give it a click!

Mr. Trout... It truly was a fine dish. The truffle oil was an investment, but we've discovered that a little goes a long way, so we'll probably be working on this bottle for the new few years. Next up: truffled popcorn a la Oliver's Twist.

Theresa... That truffle oil certainly is some pungent stuff, and not a flavor or smell that can be forgotten (or removed) easily! Thank you so much for visiting :)

Magchunk said...

Yum, sounds great!

Elizabeth, aren't we so lucky to have fellas that cook? I'm putting in a request with Ryan to see this sandwich on the table soon!