The online magazine
dedicated to the
discussion & revival
of British foodways.

NO.53
SUMMER2017

A simple carpetbagger steak from Fanny Hill’s Cook Book

The authors associate this steak with Australia, for no reason other than to create an awkward and unconvincing sexual innuendo by calling it ‘down under.’ It is, however, a perfectly reasonable recipe. Proportions listed for each steak.


Fanny_Hill_Cook_Book_cover001.jpg

  • generous Tablespoon unsalted butter
  • about ½ cup sliced mushrooms
  • drip of Worcestershire
  • pinch of cayenne
  • salt and pepper
  • a 2 ½- 3 inch thick ribeye
  • 4-6 shucked oysters
  • olive oil for painting the steak

  1. Melt the butter in a heavy skillet big enough to hold your steak(s) without crowding over high heat and sear the mushrooms until they acquire bronze stripes. Do do stir them (shake the pan instead) or they will boil in their own liquid rather than fry.
  2. Season the mushrooms with Worcestershire, cayenne, salt and pepper.
  3. Remove the mushrooms from the skillet, let them cool and fold the oysters gently into them.
  4. Cut a pocket in your steak big enough to hold the mixture of mushrooms and oysters; carefully and evenly stuff the steak, ensuring that the oysters nestle in a single layer.
  5. Brush the steaks with olive and season them recklessly with salt and pepper.
  6. Heat the mushroom skillet over high heat until smoking and cook your steak as much or little as you like, but it really should stay rare.
  7. Let each steak rest for a few minutes to contain the juices before devouring.

Notes:

-The original recipe specifies shell steak; you could use that if you like. Another option is filet, but the Editor finds the texture of the cornfed cut mushy. Grass fed filet is altogether different, firmer and entirely acceptable.

-The original version also omits all seasoning from the mushrooms and adds garlic salt to the coating for the steak. The Editor recommends neither practice.

-Here is the idiotic blurb that accompanies the recipe in Fanny Hill’s Cook Book:

“Men from Australia and Lapland [get it?] have a common eating ground. And when men get hungry in Aderdeenshire on the Scottish moors, they beat around the bush, eat the bird and then shoot a full load. A dropout is bored of education, but even every tyro knows you kneel down and look at the lay when you get near the cup. All of this proves the greatest human virtues and victories are shared in bed.”

Apparently this sort of thing has rendered the cook book expensive, even collectible.