This is a superb recipe for anyone wanting to enjoy a lazy weekend lunch, and doesn’t want to have to resort to a fast food chain. In short, the flavour and taste of this sandwich matches the photograph – how often can we say that about the average burger promotion? Of course, this isn’t fast food; it’s something to mull over, drool over, savour and enjoy. Or to put it another way, this isn’t the motorway pit stop; it’s the destination.
250 g ribeye steak
1 large onion
knob of butter
25 g dark brown sugar
60 ml red wine vinegar
sprig thyme or lemon thyme
1 ciabatta loaf
1 tbsp mayo
2 tsp Dijon or grain mustard
1 handful of watercress
fresh cracked black pepper
1) Take the steak out from the fridge and let it sit on the side – this allows it 45 mins or so to come to room temperature, which you want for even cooking.
2) Meanwhile, peel the onion and slice into four 1cm-thick rounds. You can reserve the “end bits” for something else.
3) Put the butter, a glug of oil into a frying pan on a medium high heat. Once the butter has melted, place the onions into the pan in a single layer, and cook for 5 minutes.
4) Add the sugar and vinegar, sprinkle with a few thyme leaves if you have them, season well with a good pinch of sea salt and cracked black pepper and put a the lid on, reducing the heat to low and cook for around 45 minutes. Check periodically it’s not sticking/burning – you don’t need to turn them as you’re looking for the onions to stay in their round shape but have collapsed to a very soft and caramelised state – like Brenda after one too many on the sun lounger.
5) Switch on the oven to 100°C and pop in the ciabatta to warm through.
6) Put a heavy-bottomed pan on a high heat. Once it’s beginning to smoke, lightly oil the steak with olive oil, season well with sea salt and cracked black pepper then put it into the pan and cook for 2 – 2 1/2 minutes on each side for medium rare, but this will depend on the thickness of your steak and how “done” you like it. Also, as always when cooking steak, once you’ve put it down, leave it alone and do not move it at all – this really does make the difference in developing that lovely brown outer crust
7) Remove from the pan to a warm plate, rest for 3-4 minutes, then slice up how you like.
8) While the steak is resting, combine the mayo and mustard.
9) To assemble, slice the warm ciabatta in half sideways so you have a lower and an upper half; and spoon/pour onto both pieces any leftover steak juices from the resting plate, then spread about a couple of tsp of the mayo/mustard mix, also onto to each half, followed by lifting the caramelised onions carefully onto the lower half, then the steak strips – and watercress as the uppermost layer. Crown with the top half of the loaf, press down lightly and using a sharp bread knife, divide into two, at an angle.
10) Gobble inelegantly