Steak à la carte

I set before the Puffinati assembled a little piece of nourishment backed up with some history. A story as to how a piece of steak came to be one of the most famous dishes in Portugal. Bife a Marrare is probably one of the finest examples of a dish whose variant was that the sauce apparently contained coffee. In the salons of the well-to-do in Portugal there has always been a great debate over the descent of its originator, namely as to whether he was of Galician or Neapolitan descent, but all that is sure is that Antonio Marrare settled in Lisbon at the end of the 18th century & opened several cafes.

His first was located next to the Teatro de S.Carlos, the National Opera House of Portugal. It was not long before he opened others in Cais do Sodré, Chiado and Rua dos Sapateiros,- carefully chosen locations where the best Lisbon society chose to meet. It was at the Café on Rua dos Sapateiros (Shoemakers Street ), also called “Marrare das Sete Portas”, founded in 1804, that the famous steak was born. This recipe literally does not “take a coffee”, its name is due to the place where it was traditionally served. Bife à Marrare is an ode to simplicity and good taste, having set the benchmark for all imitation steaks “à café” that followed, always with frills and additions, today mustard, tomorrow garlic, then what ? All in an attempt to improve something that was simplistic perfection & easy to make at home. The only secret being to scrupulously respect the original recipe…………..

Ingredients :

  • Topside or Round (*) steak
  • 2 Tablespoons of Butter
  • 2 cloves of crushed garlic
  • Coarse Salt & Pepper
  • 2 Tablespoons of cream

Recipe :

  • Rub tender beef steaks with garlic, salt & pepper, and shallow fry in butter.
  • Swill the pan with cream, replace the steaks and serve.

Insert : SteaknChipz.jpeg, subtitled : Perfect : a lightly fried, rare steak swimming in a thick sauce of cream, butter, and meat juices

(*) True story. A long, l o n g time ago, LaDJM moved to the UK after (her Mother’s words) throwing her life, job, & car away in consenting to be my bride. For the first meal she attempted to provide her husband, she decided to provide a beefsteak meal. Entering the local butchers shop to purchase the meat she braved the silent inquisition of the women of the village & asked the welcoming butcher for a couple of pounds of round steak. Round steak was the phrase she’d grown up with in rural Ireland. He – being the self appointed local wit – responded with the quip “round where ?”. Collapse of all in the shop, apart from LaDJM who left without completing the purchase. We dined that evening on fish from the local chippy……….

© DJM 2023