September 1, 2018

Steak Sandwich w/ Vodka Pan Sauce | Drifting Dragons

          Drifting Dragons by Tako Kuwabara is a really enjoyable foodie manga that I discovered recently. It takes place in an alternate world where dragons that look like silverfish and cephalopods break through the clouds along with the crews of humans in dirigibles that hunt them. The ships are called drawing vessels and they hunt the dragons for bounties and food. Drifting Dragons has a slice-of-life plus adventure feel and follows one particular draking crew and the dragons, mishaps, joys, towns, and cultures they encounter. Draking crews have their own way of doing things, and the main crew for this story tries to kill cleanly and use all of the parts, selling the resulting oil, meat, medicinal ingredients, and more to nearby villages. There is one character in the crew in particular that is crazy about dragon meat, and he's always trying different recipes, one of which, found in volume one, is for a dragon tail sandwich.

          Drifting Dragons is currently a digital only comic, with ebooks of volumes one, two, and three published by Kodansha available online (I got mine through Amazon for the kindle app). The Crunchyroll manga app has the singe issues that come after volume 3 (for subscribers to Crunchyroll), and they also have the first issue on their app available to anyone, to give a taste of the comic. :)

This recipe is shared in connection to Fiction Kitchen Podcast episode 63 (available here)
in which I talk about Drifting Dragons and the food in it! *

Dragon Tail Sandwich w/ Vodka Pan Sauce

Ingredients: (Makes 2 or 3, depending on steak size)
Slices of Hearty Bread (like Sourdough), 2 slices per sandwich
Butter
Thick Steak, room temperature (I used a 1.82lb London broil, and it made way too much!)
Salt
Pepper
1/2 Cup Vodka (alt. beef broth or wine or other liquid, but vodka is in the comic)

Directions:
Heat a large pan on medium heat. Salt & pepper the meat well all over & set aside until needed.

Spread a thin layer of butter over the cut sides of the bread slices & grill them in the hot pan until golden brown. Set aside.

Lay the steak in the pan & let cook for about 3 minutes, then flip & cook for another 3 minutes or so. Make sure you sear the sides as well.
Cooking time depends on how done you want the meat. An easy tip to test for doneness is to use your thumb & fingers as a gauge; focusing on the palm-base of your thumb, medium rare is when your thumb is tip to tip with your index finger, medium is touching your middle finger, medium well is to your ring finger, & well is your pinky. Compare the cooking meat to your palm by poking them both.

Remove the steak when you have a nice sear on all sides & it's to your desired doneness.
Do not cut the meat yet. Let it rest for at least 5 minutes.

With the pan still on medium, pour in the vodka & quickly scrape all of the brown bits into the liquid & stir it all together. Let bubble & cook down to half of the liquid & then transfer to a glass measuring cup with a spout for easy use. Whisk in a little bit of butter. If there is any extra meat juice from the resting steak (check under it), whisk it into the sauce.

Using a sharp serrated knife, cut the steak into very thin slices ACROSS the grain. The grain is the direction of the muscle fibers in the meat (you can see the lines). Cut across/perpendicular to these.

Divide the strips of meat between the sandwiches & pour a bit of the sauce on each before putting the top bread on.
*Alternately, you could further cut the strips in to about 1" bite-sized pieces for easier sandwich chewing before putting the meat onto the bread.
*You could also put these little pieces back into the pan all together on medium heat & pour the pan sauce over it & toss to coat. Cook only for a minute or so, tossing all the while, then put on the sandwiches.

*  *  *
For more dragon meat from manga, try my

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