Fat Duck Chef Heston Blumenthal’s fresh take on the classic steak sandwich, up against the recipe from fallen idol Gordon Ramsay.
I love a steak sandwich. More satisfying than a posh burger, and loads of room to play around with ingredients. A triple decker steak sandwich was the first thing I ever ordered in a restaurant (Eddie Rockers, on Deansgate, which some Mancunians may recall). You cannot beat a good steak sandwich – Hawksmoor celebrated their seventh birthday by creating this one:
Likewise, Heston Blumenthal has just published a Waitrose recipe for his own perfect Steak Sandwich recipe. It looks like an easy weekend project, and the perfect excuse for a Heston Vs Gordon challenge.
It is hard to remember, but the American reality TV presenter Gordon Ramsay used to be a chef of considerable renown in the UK. He still runs several restaurants in his own name, and if you look beyond the Top 100 charts on Amazon you’ll find a list of old recipe books he used to publish.
We grew up watching Gordon Ramsay shows on TV, and despite changing fashions we still have fondness for some of his recipes. One of those being Gordon’s take on the classic steak sandwich recipe, which is not only a great steak sandwich, but also has some personal nostalgic value for me.
Let’s see how our favourite tried-and-tested Gordon Ramsay Steak Sandwich recipe compares with this brand-new Heston Blumenthal’s Steak Sandwich recipe
Recipes: Heston’s Steak Sandwich recipe, Gordon Ramsay’s Steak Sandwich recipe
Special Equipment: None
Special Ingredients: None (but go buy the Shallot & Star Anise dip if you must)
Time: Under an hour (9 hours if using sous vide)
Difficulty: Very Easy
Here’s a video of Heston making his Perfect Steak Sandwich recipe:
Heston’s Steak Sandwich Recipe
Step 1: Prepare Condiments
Of course the main reason we all get free Heston Blumenthal recipes on the Waitrose website is to help him sell his own-branded products, like the Shallot & Star Anise dip that’s integral to making Heston’s Steak Sandwich recipe.
Rather than drive all the way to Waitrose I just looked at the ingredients list online. The Shallot & Star Anise Dip is basically a mixture of cream cheese and mayo, filled with caramelised shallots that have been cooked with star anise to enhance their meaty flavours. It’s a favourite Heston technique, and one we’ve done many times before. It was actually quicker, easier and cheaper to buy the ingredients and make our own.
Before you start cooking you’ll also need to drain the oil from your artichokes and sun-dried tomatoes, and then peel the skin off those tomatoes.
Don’t let Heston’s slickly edited video fool you, this is quite a tricky job. However, the results really are worth it. We’d go so far as to say we might take this short cut next time we make Heston’s Perfection Pizza recipe.
Slice some gherkins, gather a handful of rocket leaves and you’re ready to go.
Step 2: Cook Steak
Heston Blumenthal has some very specific advice on how to cook the perfect steak. Thankfully, you don’t need to go to the trouble of keeping the oven at an exact temperature for 24 hours of cooking, like you do with his In Search of Perfection Perfect Steak recipe.
Instead you just need to leave your heaviest pan on the hob until its terrifyingly hot, then add the steaks and flip them every 30 seconds until they register about 50°C on a temperature probe.
But since I’m incredibly lazy even that’s too much work. Instead we’ll be cooking our steaks sous vide using our Sansaire. Here they are getting a pre-sear from frozen before being vac-packed.
Step 3: Assemble
If you did sous-vide your steaks then just before serving you need to pat them dry, give them a final sear and allow them to rest for five minutes. Meanwhile toast the bread (Heston uses a multi-seed granary loaf) in the pan.
Pan-toasted bread has never worked for us. It’s slow, imprecise and you can only do a couple of slices at a time. Riskier but quicker is to just do four slices under the grill. If you keep an eye on them they shouldn’t get too burnt.
Now just layer-up. The star anise spread, jar / deli-counter veg, seasoned steak, rocket, some parmesan shavings and the top layer of bread. Heston’s Steak Sandwich recipe: “DONE”
Gordon’s Steak Sandwich Recipe
Step 1: Prepare Condiments
We’re used to long ingredients lists for Heston Blumenthal recipes, but Gordon Ramsay’s steak sandwich recipe needs an even bigger armful from the cupboard.
Nearly all of this gets mixed into the mayo to form a sort of zingy Tartar-sauce-for-steak.
Step 2: Cook Steak
Again we’re sansairing steaks for this sandwich. Ramsay recommends skirt, right now one of our favourite cuts. Loads more flavour than a sirloin, and vastly less expensive too, but give it between 8 and 24 hours sous vide and the results will be as tender as fillet.
Step 3: Assemble
Rather than Gordon’s suggestion of sourdough we’re using plain white sandwich bread, purely for convenience.
Spread this with the mayo mixture, add lettuce then seasoned steak slices, build up another layer for the triple-decker effect and you’re ready.
Like we said, the reason we love a steak sandwich is because you can mess around with the ingredients so much. What you guys would choose as your own perfect steak sandwich recipe will also be a very personal thing.
Heston’s peeled sundried tomatoes are excellent, and combined with the umami-boost of his parmesan shavings really enhance the meaty flavours of the sandwich.
But earthy granary bread and artichokes have no place in our own perfect steak sandwich. Also, we like a bit of bite and heat to balance the richness of the meat. So, for us, Gordon is the winner.
Actually, in an ironic twist, it’s one of Heston Blumenthal’s favourite concepts, food nostalgia, that decided Gordon Ramsay’s Steak Sandwich recipe as our winner. This is a sandwich from a specific time and place in my life, and eating it brought back a lot of very happy memories.
Gordon’s steak sandwich was our favourite of the two, but not our personal perfect steak sandwich. For that we’d need to do the following:
- Heston’s Parmesan really adds to the taste, we’d keep that
- We’d swap the tabasco for horseradish
- We love the crispness of iceberg lettuce, so we’d add that, finely shredded
What makes your own ideal steak sandwich recipe? Tell us in the comments section…