Sandes de bifana is a popular Portuguese hot snack of thinly slice pork steak marinated in a mix of red pepper paste (not a chilli paste), paprika, garlic and wine.
It’s usually served in a ciabatta type bun sometimes with the option of a little mustard or a drizzle of picante sauce.
Be warned, Portuguese red pepper paste is rather salty so take this into account when adding the seasoning.
You can omit the paste if it is difficult to find or you don’t have it to hand; the sandwich won’t have as much depth of flavour but it will still be very tasty.
Once the steaks are cooked you can pour any left over marinade in to the pan and cook for a minute or two longer to give a moist glaze to the steaks.
My favourite way to serve bifanas is in a toasted bun spread with a little Dijon mustard. To toast the buns, I cut them in half and spread with a thin layer of butter before placing them, buttered side down, in a hot frying pan until lightly golden and a little crunchy around the edges.
SANDES DE BIFANA
4 thin bifanas (pork loin steaks) no thicker than 3mm, trimmed of fat
150 ml dry white wine
1 tablespoon red pepper paste, optional
1 tablespoon paprika
3 cloves garlic, minced
salt and pepper to taste
1 teaspoon chilli flakes, optional
2 tablespoons olive oil
4 bread buns
In a dish large enough to hold the steaks, mix everything from wine to seasoning. Add the bifanas and coat well. Cover and leave in the fridge to marinate for minimum 5 hours but overnight if possible.
About 30 minutes before you are ready to cook remove the meat from the fridge and allow to come to room temperature. Cooking cold meat makes it contract and tough.
Heat the oil in a large frying pan over a medium heat.
Drain the pork, reserving the marinade, and add to the pan. Fry quickly to seal on both sides. Reduce the heat a little and continue to fry until cooked.
You can serve the steaks at this point or you can pour any left over marinade into the pan with the meat and it boil down until the pork is moist and glazed.
Pop a steak into a bun and serve immediately.