"At Eataly in Manhattan you can get an amazing butcher sandwich. Just shaved, roasted rib-eye with extra virgin olive oil and sea salt on an Italian roll — that's it. I love that version," writes Bronson, "but then I went to Gjusta in Venice, in L.A. On their butcher sandwich — they have an incredible flesh program and a dope bakery — they hand-cut the meat for me a little thicker, which gives it a slightly different taste. Instead of an Italian roll, it was a heartier sourdough loaf, and of course because I always have to kick it up a notch, they also shaved horseradish on it."
"I came home and made my own version, using a f*cking beautiful grass-fed rib eye, Calabrian chilli paste, tart ricotta salata, fresh basil, and the funky, sweet Madre de Sagrantino, which is the sludge, the remnants of what was left over in the barrel from making a natural Sagrantino wine at Paolo Bea winery in Italy. It looks like you just changed the oil from a fucking Chevy Celebrity. You can mimic the flavour by cooking down Concord grape jam with a funky natural red wine and use that instead of the madre. Then you get to drink the wine while you make the steak."
- 60ml Concord grape jam (find it in the international food aisle of any large supermarket, or make your own from red grapes)
- 1½ tsp red wine
- Dash of good-quality red wine vinegar
- 455g boneless rib-eye steak
- Flaky sea salt
- Extra virgin olive oil (decent, for cooking)
- 1 foot-long sesame seeded semolina sub roll
- Softened butter, optional
- 2-3 tbsp Calabrian chilli paste
- 115g ricotta salata
- Extra virgin olive oil (amazing, for finishing)
- 1 small stem fresh basil
- In a small saucepan, whisk the jam over very low heat until it is smooth and melted. Turn off the heat and whisk in the wine and the vinegar. This is your mimic of the madre de Sagrantino, though you know it won't be exactly the same. Set aside to cool while you make the steak.
- Heat a cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat until it is roaring hot, about 10 minutes.
- Salt the rib eye freely on both sides and drizzle one side with the decent olive oil. Place the oiled side facedown in the hot skillet, making sure the steak is pressed flat against the pan. It will smoke. It will set off the fire alarm.
- Let it cook for 3 to 4 minutes without moving it, or until the bottom is black-brown and crusty-crunchy. It's all about almost burning it—that's where you get that mad flavour from. Then drizzle on a little of the decent oil and use tongs to flip it over.
- Cook the steak without moving it for 3 to 4 minutes more, until the other side is black-brown and crusty, then remove it to a cutting board. You want it medium-rare, pink, and gorgeous on the inside, which is exactly what it will be.
- Now you drink a glass of wine while you wait for the steak to rest, at least 10 minutes. Then slice it up, across the grain, into nice big cuts about 6mm thick.
- Slice the roll in half lengthwise. Here I like to smear the outside with butter and toast it in the hot steak fat in the pan, and I put a tablespoon or two of butter on top of the steak as it rests, just for extra flavour.
- Smear the bottom with your mimic madre and the top half with the chilli paste.
- Add the steak slices to the bottom of the loaf. Use a vegetable peeler to shave a good amount of ricotta salata directly over the slices (you won't use all of it, unless you want to), then douse it with the amazing olive oil, enough so it drips off and starts to soak into the bread. Tear the basil leaves over the top, and sprinkle on a little more salt and oil. Close and eat.
From F*ck, That's Delicious: An Annotated Guide to Eating Well by Action Bronson with Rachel Wharton; photography by Gabriele Stabile. Published by Abrams.