Stop me if you’ve heard this one. A man craving steak heads into his kitchen, takes a slice of sourdough bread, soaks it in a savory French toast batter, dusts it in Parmesan, and pan-roasts it.
In case you were waiting for the punchline, there isn’t one. There isn’t a steak either after you’ve gone through the few steps outlined above, though David Tamarkin, editor-in-chief of Epicurious, insists otherwise. According to a recipe feature by him in Bon Appetit, Tamarkin stopped eating steak for environmental reasons, but still craved it, so he created this substitute.
‘When the bread is ready,” he writes, “it’s browned and crusty on the outside and, just like a perfectly cooked piece of beef, reveals a tender center when cut open.”
A thick piece of this savory French toast can be eaten on its own for a snack, but if this is dinner, I pile it high with raw vegetables. Garlicky marinated tomatoes and fat dollops of creamy ricotta. Sliced snap peas and quick-pickled shallots tossed with just enough good olive oil to make it slick. A tangle of raw zucchini dressed with lime juice and chile crisp. I scatter a bit of whatever herb is on its last leg over top, and pair it with a glass of whatever bottle of wine/beer/vermouth is already open. The Bread Steak can go with all of it; the only thing it doesn’t like to hang with is beef.
A promotional tweet by the magazine reading “It’s fatty. It’s salty. And if you do it right, it’s downright meaty,” touched off a tempest in a teapot on Twitter.
One skeptic wrote:
More steak then for the rest of us!
— Not my president (@Notmypr11028122) July 3, 2021
Another wrote, “I do not know why the term ‘bread steak’ is making me violently angry but here we are.”
Still others said they were intrigued but suspected the outcome would be more like grilled cheese than a steak.
Me? I’ll reserve judgment, though I would like to remind readers that Epicurious, Tamarkin’s blog, announced in April that it would discontinue publishing beef recipes over concerns about climate change. Could attracting readers to the now-neutered website be the method behind Tamarkin’s madness?