How To Make The Perfect Steak Sandwich

By Ellie Smith

1 month ago

Tim Hayward shares his winning formula

For many people, steak is the ultimate foodie treat – and a good cut doesn’t come cheap, so it’s important to cook it right. Of course everyone has their individual preferences, but there are certain techniques and tricks cooks can use to make the sumptuous dish shine, which food writer Tim Hayward explores in his new book, Steak. Here, we share a recipe from the book: the ultimate steak sandwich.

Tim Hayward’s Recipe: The Ultimate Steak Sandwich

‘So much in the world of steak is about display, luxury and status, and perhaps that’s why nothing feels quite so decadent, quite so much like ultimate self-care than a quiet, solo steak sandwich,’ writes Hayward. ‘Sure, you can make one for someone you love very much, but as the eminent philosopher RuPaul clearly expressed it: “If you don’t love yourself, how in the hell you gonna love somebody else?”

‘I should begin by saying that almost any steak tastes great between a couple of slices of almost any bread, but there is a textural issue. Bread tears easily in the teeth, but steak has a strength and resilience that requires carnivorous tearing (on that note, how did the tyrannosauruses ever manage to get a steak up to their teeth with those tiny arms?), so the meat needs to be either sliced quite thinly or chopped into a multiplicity of chunks.’

He continues: ‘This recipe is a little bit “extra”, but it’s not like you’ll eat it every day and it tips its hat to so many brilliant traditions of steak cooking and so many classic recipes.

Serves 1


  • 250ml (9fl oz) red wine 100ml (31/2fl oz) olive oil 1 tsp balsamic vinegar
    1 onion, thickly sliced
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed, plus extra for the bread (optional)
  • 3 tbsp dried oregano
    Chilli (hot pepper) flakes, to taste 250g (9oz) deckle or flank steak 2 thick slices of white sourdough 1 tsp double cream or crème fraîche (optional)
    4 leaves of Little Gem lettuce
  • Dijon mustard and/or horseradish sauce, to taste
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper


  1. Pour the wine and oil into a non-reactive bowl and add the balsamic vinegar, onion, garlic and oregano. Season with salt and pepper and chilli flakes.
  2. Cut the steak into thick fingers across the grain and add to the marinade. Cover and leave to marinate overnight in the fridge.
  3. The next day, heat a dry cast-iron frying pan over a high heat until it’s as hot as you can get it, and sear one side of each slice of bread. Rub the seared side with a clove of garlic if you like.
  4. Lift the meat out of the marinade and pat dry with paper towels, then sear on all sides in the hot pan, rolling and shaking to ensure an even char, until the a core reaches 54oC (129oF) on a probe thermometer. Remove from the pan and set aside to rest.
  5. Pour the marinade and onions into the hot pan and scrape up any baked-on meat juices. Reduce the heat to a vigorous simmer and cook until everything is well reduced and the onions have softened. Add the cream, if using, and allow to bubble.
  6. Toss the rested meat into the sauce along with any juices.
  7. Spread the grilled sides of the bread with mustard or horseradish (I go for one of each), then spoon the meat and onions on top.
  8. Add a little more of the sauce, spread over the lettuce leaves and nail on the lid with cocktail sticks. Serve with any leftover sauce for dipping.

Steak: The Whole Story by Tim Hayward (Quadrille, £30), photography: Sam Folan