The stars are aligned just right today. I have enough free time and energy to try to make a meal that has been in the back of my mind for months. As soon as I saw it on guardian.co.uk, I knew this sandwich and my mouth must soon meet.
I started by finding my “crusty loaf” at Panera Bread. As much as it embarrasses me to go to a chain for this leg of the quest, the only other options were Korean bakeries, whose loaves have a completely different consistency than I was looking for, or a supermarket, which didn’t yield anything when I tried. The sourdough breadbowl at Panera was as close as I could find, even if it was a little small for the task. As you can see, the it was small enough that I could fit my hands around the edge.
The rest of the items were easy enough to find. I was surprised to not find shallots at the Korean grocery (up until this point, the end-all to any produce query), but a regular supermarket had them. I got those steaks hoping they would shrink down and fatten up. Note: the 3rd steak, not pictured, was sitting in bulgogi marinade, waiting to be grilled at a friend’s cook-out later in the day.
I pulled the innards out of the bread, calling it, and an apple, lunch.
I was reminded why I hate chopping mushrooms. If there is an automatic mushroom slicer-dicer on the market, I am the target consumer for it. This was my first time working with shallots, which Buff’s dad (a legendary chef) swears by, and I never realized how tedious they would be for me to work with. The recipe above calls for 500 grams of mushrooms and half that of shallots. I halved that order, considering the small loaf, and added 2 cloves of garlic.
I tried to cook the mixture down to the dark color seen in the article, but this is all I could manage after quite a while. Oh, and want to read something that’ll piss you off? Lea & Perrins Worcestershire sauce has fucking high fructose corn syrup in it.
A searing-hot, dry pan with 2 steaks. Given my lack of experience with steak and my trouble seeing colors, I probably over-cooked the steaks a little, erring on the side of caution.
I didn’t think the first steak was going to fit, so I trimmed a little off of the side. It was a good choice. If I weren’t going to be eating steak later that night, those trimmings would have been lunch 2.0. I forgot to snap a pic of the mushroom mixture going in after the first steak. Halving that was also a good choice, as I used maybe only 3/4th of it.
I took a more off of the 2nd steak than I did the 1st, since there was less room near the top. Now, I’m not really a horseradish kind of girl, so I just opted for Dijon on the top of the loaf.
I picked up freezer paper for this, which I think was the best option available. Wax paper didn’t sound right, and neither did parchment.
I don’t yet own cooking twine, but Buff and I did register for it for our wedding at Williams and Sonoma. Better just use clear tape today.
A cutting board and “as much weight as I can find”? How about 53 lbs. of kettlebell? I actually tried to put another 55 lbs. (in the form of two more kettlebells, one 20 and the other 35), but between hearing the sandwich groan under the weight and not being able to balance it all in the first place, I decided 53 lbs. was enough. Leaving this in its state during the day, I went to the party, wondering what I’ll see what I get back.
So, it looks like the Guardian’s author’s note of “as many weights as you can find” can be taken too literally. The 53 lbs. was probably OK, but when I tried to double that, it was crossing the line.
If you look at the sides, you can see what happened. Under the extreme weight, the mushroom mixture got pushed to the edges, making that soggy and bursting the paper in some parts. Another lesson learned: a cleaver doesn’t cut this paper well. Best to use a serrated knife.
Still, even after eating steak for dinner, this is quite a tasty sandwich to come home to at midnight. I gave that small wedge a try, and liked what I tasted. The dijon comes through surprisingly strong. I can’t wait to eat the rest of this during the next week.