Looking for a lunchtime offering that’s more of a gourmet experience? Enter bbar’s Super Salt Beef Sandwich, served on rye bread with broccoli slaw and pickles. The much-loved South African bar and restaurant in Victoria is popular for its take on this classic Jewish comfort food, and it’s the perfect flavourful and filling option as the temperatures begin to drop.
Salt Beef bars were once a staple of London’s food scene and can still be found around the city as well as in the food halls of department stores like Harrods and Selfridges. The ultimate comfort dish, the main focus of a truly excellent salt beef sandwich should be its superlative quality filling. Traditionally used as a way to preserve meat, the process of salting beef has changed considerably over time and these days the amount of salt used pales in comparison to historic recipes. However, it’s the long brining process, which can last up to ten days, that gives salt beef its unique flavour.
Ready cooked salt beef is available from delis and supermarkets, but for an authentic taste, the homemade version can’t be beaten. Experts favour a brisket cut – which is the choice of most salt beef bars – or there is always the option of silverside, which is a bit leaner.
Salt beef (about 500-600g or more) requires boiling for a good couple of hours. Once this is done, remove from the liquid if serving straight away or leave to cool for a while in the liquid. The beef should be served hot.
When constructing your sandwich, rye and caraway bread is recommended, but make sure to use the soft light rye, not the dark Scandinavian type. Thinly slice the salt beef and pile generously on the bread, serving with a gherkin and a smear of hot English mustard.
· 1 Salt Beef Brisket
· 1 diced white onion
· 3 carrots, diced
· 2 sticks of celery, diced
· 2 bay leaves
· 4 garlic cloves
· 1 litre of chicken stock
· 70ml white wine
· 4 springs of thyme
· 1 tbsp peppercorns
· 1 spring of parsley
Rinse the salt beef brisket under cold water for around five minutes.
Place all the above ingredients into a tray deep enough to hold the meat, vegetables and all the stock, then cover with tin foil.
Slow braise the salt beef for three hours at 180°C until tender and cooked through, then chill and store. When required, slice the meat and reheat on a tray in the oven, covered with the stock and tin foil, until warmed through. Serve immediately.
Image Credits: All images courtesy of Red Carnation Hotels.