Bistek – usually flank or skirt steak cut in slices, but beef liver or pork tenderloin can also be used, and cooked in a mixture of soy sauce, kalamansi juice, and sliced onions – was one of the personal favorites of the late National Artist for Literature Nick Joaquin. I can’t blame Ole Nick for liking the dish so much: when served piping hot with enough steamed plain rice to soak up the salty-tangy sauce and the sliced meat tender enough to cut with a spoon, it’s sheer heaven for anyone lucky enough to sit down to such a blessed meal.
It’s also the sort of meal that doesn’t really leave much in the way of leftovers because people eat it up so eagerly. However, on those rare occasions when there is some bistek leftover in the fridge, it actually works as a filling for sandwiches.
I tried it out yesterday when, in a rather piggy fit, I craved for a sandwich. I was thinking along the lines of a classic Philly cheesesteak – only I didn’t want any cheese at the moment, nor did I have any hoagie or hotdog buns in the fridge. What I did have was an olive-studded whole-wheat foccacia (Village Gourmet‘s take on this Italian classic is excellent if you haven’t the time to bake your own – plus, it’s readily available at most large supermarkets.) Easy-peasy: I just split the foccacia in half, layered leftover bistek slices (don’t forget to use the sauce-soaked onions for a bit of sweetness!) and heated it up for four minutes in a toaster oven. Slices of sweet-sour cucumber salad (fresh cucumber slices soaked in a mix of sugar, vinegar, and cracked black pepper) gave my sarnie some crunch and zing.
It makes a hefty meal for one, but is much more satisfying when shared with one’s mother with frosty glasses of iced tea on the side. 😉