Simanaitis Says

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HA! I ENJOYED THE NEW YORK TIMES RECIPE for Salisbury Steak (though reading only the recipe, not the background information). Here I was, all ready to describe my own tasty rendition of this classic dish, complete with a warm-and-cozy Anglophilic Earl-of-Sandwich-like backstory. I even researched Patrick de Salisbury, the first Earl of Salisbury, c. 1122–1168, and the family crest. 

Arms of Cecil-Gascogne, Marquess and Earl of Salisbury, the fifth creation of the title, 1789.

Well, forget the Earl. As described by Eric Kim in The New York Times, “The original dish was named after Dr. James Henry Salisbury, who famously recommended eating it for health reasons.” 

Hmm… Let’s research the good doctor instead.

Something of an Extremist. Dr. James H. Salisbury was an early food faddist, believing that “vegetables and starchy foods produced poisonous substances in the digestive system which were responsible for heart disease, tumors, mental illness and tuberculosis. He believed that human dentition demonstrated that humans were meant to eat meat, and sought to limit vegetables, fruit, starches, and fats to one-third of the diet.” 

James Henry Salisbury, 1823–1905, American physician and inventor of the Salisbury Steak. 

His invention as described by Wikipeida was a bit different from today’s recipe: Well-trimmed lean beef, broiled with onion, seasoned with “butter, pepper, and salt; also use either Worcestershire or Halford sauce, mustard, horseradish or lemon juice on the meat if desired. Celery may be moderately used a relish.”

Geez. Celery, moderately. That’s moderation. 

The kicker was to eat this “three times a day, with much hot water to cleanse the digestive system.” 

My Salisbury Steak. I followed Eric Kim’s recipe from The New York Times with two exceptions: I’m into Impossible brand “Beef Made From Plants” as an excellent substitute for ground meat.  And in lieu of eight ounces of fresh cremini mushrooms, I had a six-ounce jar of Green Giant’s Sliced Mushrooms.

The Chef’s Happy Snaps. The recipe began with preparation of the patties.

I followed Kim’s suggestion of browning the patties after a 15-minute freeze. This helped to hold them together. My proportioning yielded six rather than Kim’s eight. 

The rest involved preparation of the gravy. 

Mushrooms and onions. Here, as recommended I added a little olive oil, as the Impossible is leaner than most beef and renders less “fat.”

Sprinkling the flour looked scary, but, sure enough, it lost its streaks of white. The properly seasoned stock and milk gradually thickened. 

Gravy thickened as expected.

Then in went the browned patties.  

 I flipped them once and basted them with the gravy.

Dinner time, twice so far.

Here’s the first dinner, with snap peas added (in generous “moderation”). Below, I froze the leftover and enjoyed two of them later. 

All in good culinary fun. Thanks, Eric Kim and Dr. Salisbury. ds 

© Dennis Simanaitis,, 2023

3 comments on “SALISBURY STEAK

  1. John Mcnulty
    May 1, 2023

    Dennis, we used to make Salisbury steak a lot back in the 70s. I can smell it just by looking at your pictures.
    I have done all the cooking since about 1980. Do most of it on a Heartland kitchen wood stove. Makes it taste better and saves energy. Graduated Paul Smith’s College of the Adirondacks in restaurant management in the 60s. After graduation I realized this met working nights, weekends and holidays, so I became a Technology teacher. If I had not, I would not own two Morgans and read all your great articles in R&T.
    Speaking of R&T, I do not get it any more. Same for C&D. Only interested in vintage cars at this point in my life.
    Salisbury brings back bad memories, while pulling on to the Watkins Glen race track back in 2010, the rear end of the Plus 4 blew up. It was made in Salisbury England. Could not buy or find any parts any where in the world. Bob Couch built a new Dana for me that looks exactly like the Salisbury. Guess parts are now available, but since we got the +8, the poor +4 just sits in the garage. Do miss the four seats.

  2. John McNulty
    May 3, 2023

    Made it last night. great. Good tip about the 15 minute freezer.

  3. Mike Scott
    May 4, 2023

    Always good to see a creative take on veganism, thank you. We thinking gearheads might lead the way, in the win-win-win ensure a future for our ancient internal combustion dragons, given a UN study showing animals raised for meat and dairy produce more greenhouse gas than all the world’s cars, trucks, trains, planes, trains, ships combined.

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