On Thursday, I went to the Fortnum and Mason Food and Drink Awards, because I was nominated for online food and drink writer of the year. I was sure I didn’t have a hope in hell of winning with Felicity Cloake and Sue Quinn as my competition and you know what? I was right. Sue won and I think deservedly so. Congratulations again, Sue.
Was I disappointed I didn’t win? Yeah, of course. As I stood there in my fancy blouse and disco shoes, sweating profusely (for it was the hottest room in London, filled with too many people), my stomach was like a butterfly circus. I knew I wasn’t the one, though, and consequently had bugger all to say if required to go on stage. Cue more sweating. By the end I resembled a floppy poodle clutching a glass of champagne, hungry eyes strobing the corners of the room in search of canapes.
I did get to stand in a room with some properly famous food people though. Imagine me nudging my boyfriend in the ribs and mouthing, “it’s Nigella! It’s ACTUALLY NIGELLA!” and then doing the same for Rick Stein before finishing with my usual, “Marcus Wareing really does look a lot like a Border Terrier, amiright?” He does, though. Check it out.
What has all this got to do with steak sandwiches, you’re thinking? The answer, my friends, is not a lot. This is just a story about me losing an award and then cooking some steak sandwiches as a consolation prize. I think that’s okay.
Now you all know that steak sandwiches are brilliant, but do you also know about pimento cheese? If you’re American, then you will, but the Brits, not so much. It’s a Southern American thang and if you’re interested then there’s a lovely little history on the website Serious Eats. Basically, it’s a mixture of cheddar (crappy stuff – remember, this is American cheese), mayo and seasonings, including of course pimento peppers. It’s traditionally eaten on little crackers but I find that kind of boring, preferring it instead on burgers or in sandwiches.
I love creamy cheese in a steak sandwich (see also: Boursin) and this is fantastic with its zippy grit of pimentos and jalapenos. I also mixed up some chives with olive oil and brushed it on the baguette before toasting on the BBQ. Excellent allium twang.
Who needs awards when you’ve got steak sandwiches? (Me. I need awards).
BBQ Steak Sandwiches with Pimento Cheese Recipe
1 good quality baguette (I used sourdough)
2 thick rib eye steaks
225g Cheddar cheese, grated (this is the time for Cathedral City, not Keen’s)
50g cream cheese
50g jarred pimento peppers, diced (those Peppadew ones but not stuffed)
30g jarred jalapenos, diced
1 teaspoon Chohula hot sauce (or similar)
1/2 teaspoon cayenne
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon chopped chives
Light your BBQ.
To make the pimento cheese, mix the mayonnaise, cream cheese, and Cheddar together in a bowl. It will look a bit stiff but don’t worry. Add the pimentos, jalapenos, hot sauce and cayenne. Mix and adjust seasonings if you like, adding more of any ingredient.
Cook your steaks by seasoning highly with salt and pepper. Cook on a BBQ for about 2.5 mins each side (depending on thickness), flipping every 30 seconds (or cook to your liking).Allow to rest, then slice.
Brush the baguette with chive oil, then toast lightly. Spread with pimento cheese, then add the steak. Close, slice and serve.
You will have lots of lovely pimento cheese leftover. Try it in burgers, on other sandwiches, or as a dip.