Monday, June 1

Why I Do What I Do - The Steak and Egg Breakfast Wrap

I'll admit, I've been kind of slacking lately when it comes to the blog. But to be honest, I really haven't been making anything interesting lately. I mean, heck, I was going to post something yesterday about putting peanut butter on an Entenmann's chocolate-covered donut hole.

Delicious, yes, but not exactly worthy of its own post. I mean, what can I say about it? "PEANUT BUTTER ON DONUT NOM NOM NOM" isn't particularly compelling food writing.

That's all part of the problem, I suppose. In the last few weeks, I've been doing construction work - putting together sandwiches and wraps rather than actively cooking remotely complicated dishes. But there's something of value to talk about there, too. Take my breakfast, for example - a steak and egg wrap isn't really complicated, but there are bits and pieces that bear explanation.

Let's start with the choice of steak. Me, I went with skirt.

There's a reason skirt steak is generally viewed as the steak of choice when it comes to fajitas and other such wrap-like applications. Since it's so thin, it takes to marinades very well (mine consisted of teriyaki, Worcestershire, red wine vinegar, honey, Sriracha, and a dash of garlic powder) and cooks remarkably quickly (2:30 on each side on a 400+ degree skillet). The flavor is quite beefy, while the fat marbling and quick-melting connective tissue lead to a very toothsome, yet delicate texture. And since the grain of the meat goes side to side, it's ridiculously easy to cut it across the grain, leading to shorter meat fibers and therefore more tender mouth feel.

Amongst beef cuts, this quality is bested only by the tenderloin's similar grain pattern. But tenderloin's also generally three times as expensive as skirt, so I call whatevs on this one.

One of my biggest problems when it comes to creating wraps is estimating how much filler I need. Filler is that ingredient that provides bulk and texture to the wrap while offering little in the way of flavor. It tempers the more flavorful elements of the wrap, spreading it out across the breadth of the construct while simultaneously filling the stomach. It can be anything from rice to lettuce; in this case, it's fries. Why fries? Because whenever I order steak and eggs at a diner, I always swap out the home fries for fries fries. I like crunchy things.

But I digress. As I was saying, I always overshoot when it comes to the filler, which inevitably leads to overstuffing the wrap. In the end, I'm always stuck with a gigantic half-wrapped monstrosity that I can barely cram into my mouth (that's what she said), and that's never fun to eat.

The solution? Measure out your fries before you cook 'em.

Ta da! Perfect. No muss, no fuss. Into the fryer with 'em.

It's time to put the wrap together. First up, the steak.

Natural instinct would be to lay the steak out vertically, right? More visually appealing, easier to figure out the breadth of the wrap. So why am I laying the steak strips horizontally? The answer comes from thousands of frustrating steak wraps before. I'd bite down, and, no matter the tenderness of the steak, I'd wind up pulling away with an entire chunk of meat. This, of course, would mean the next few bites would be sadly meatless. By laying the steak out horizontally, each piece gets pulled away by each bite - no more struggling to tear off with each chomp.

Next on would be the fries.

Why put them on top of the steak, and not the other way around? The answer here is easy - the fries are sharp and pointy. The layer of steak under them keeps them from poking through the wrap itself. Nothing's sadder than a sandwich or wrap with poor structural integrity.

And finally, the egg.

Why over easy rather than sunny side? Here, we're using the pokiness of the fries to our advantage. The fries will pierce the yolk, freeing the yolky goodness into the interior of the wrap, where it can be soaked up by the potatoey fries rather than run down the inside of the wrap itself. Even distribution of the yolk is key, since it's effectively the sauce. And since the side facing up has seen the majority of the heat, it's just tough enough to shield that side of the wrap from the wicked spears of crispy potato.

The end result is a delight to eat. The fries capture and hold the yolk, preventing it from running out the bottom of the wrap, while each bite delivers a careful balance of steak, egg, and potato. Because that's how we do. Don't just be delicious when it comes to your eats, folks. Be smart about it, too.

1 comment:

David Wagner said...

Man, I never knew there was such a science behind a great wrap. I usually just wad whatever's in front of my into my gaping maw, and have done with it!

Loved this line for some reason: "Nothing's sadder than a sandwich or wrap with poor structural integrity."

Now update some more so I can watch you eat!