Ah, the story of the round steak open toast rye sandwich. It brings back memories of the time when I was in Paris.
It was a cold, snowy winter that year. The weather forecasts had been all wrong; what they had predicted to be fair, almost hot weather was completely incorrect. It wasn’t just snow, it was hail, rain and thunderstorms. The skies were dark and gloomy 18 hours a day and people were told to stay indoors.
That wasn’t even the worst of it. The worst was the food situation in Paris at the time. You see, because of the weather forecasts, all the restaurants in Paris decided that it was a good time to make bread, so that’s what they did. They baked bread every hour of every day of every month and before long, the whole city was flooded with nothing but bread and pastries and butter rolls. Normally that’s a good thing because we know the French love their bread, but because of the sudden arrival of winter, things changed for the worst. People were sick of eating bread. They were tired of having nothing warm to eat besides bread, and trust me, you’d be tired too if all you had was bread and croissants and butter rolls. The city and its people were restless and there was no end to the dreadful winter that had come.
So the city council set up an emergency meeting. They declared it a level teal national emergency. They sent out soldiers to keep peace, to ensure that people would no longer set fire to the bakeries and put out a reward, an incentive that said:
“Anyone who is able to save Paris in our current time of need and come up with a way for people to eat bread will get their weight in wine and all the cheese they can carry on a bicycle.”
People were estatic, motivated. A reward like this hadn’t appeared in the last 800 years.
So people kept coming up with new stuff. They baked bread inside of breads, croissants inside of croissants, butter rolls inside of butter rolls but they all failed, until one day, a homeless girl came up with a recipe to making the ultimate sandwich ever: the round steak sandwich on rye toast. The steak was to be lightly scored, and briefly frozen before rubbed with salt, pepper, smoked paprika and cumin and pan-seared or grilled over frying pan in high heat. The concept was to use a steak that’s generally tougher and making it edible and delicious in its own way, comparable to the other fancier cuts of meat. The dry rub on the steak would act as a way to flavor the steak and combined with the charring heat of the flame would create a majestic explosion of flavor when eaten, briefly overwhelming in deep and complex flavors before mellowing out and allowing the meaty rareness of the steak and the steak juices to become more apparent, more pronounced. The lettuce served with a buttery toasted piece of rye would be the perfect contrast between crisp and crunch and along with the steak would the absolute match in heaven, a matrimony between the savory, smokey chewiness of the round steak with the fresh tender romaine lettuce and the wholeness of the rye toast. Oh lettuce rejoice — it was the ultimate round steak sandwich to rye for. France was saved and people started enjoying their breads again.
The homeless girl went back to her tent with her barrels of wine and armfuls of cheese with a new shiny bike in tow. When interviewed on how she came up with the recipe for the round steak rye sandwich she had created, she told them the truth: she was just craving a good steak sandwich and figured out if she could get someone to believe her and make it, she’d be able to sample it and eat it.
Recipe: Lightly score both sides of the round steak, put in the the freezer for about 20 minutes, rub dry spices (up to you to decide what you like but I usually use smoked paprika, cumin, salt and pepper, or McCormick’s Montreal Steak Rub), and sear with butter or oil over high heat. To add extra flavor, you can add some herbs or garlic to the butter and lather the melted butter over the steak throughout the cooking process. Cook until desired (Medium rare recommended), and let steak rest for 10 minutes before slicing and serving over buttered toast (any kind of bread). Enjoy!