Carpetbag steak or carpetbagger steak is a luxury dish, probably of American derivation, popular in the 1950s and 1960s in Australia and New Zealand.
It consists of an end cut of steak, such as scotch fillet. A pocket in the meat is made, into which oysters are stuffed and sutured with toothpicks or thread.
The combination of beef and oysters is traditional. The earliest specific reference is in a United States newspaper in 1891, which may indicate a connection with carpetbaggers or to gluttony. The earliest specific Australian reference is a printed recipe from between 1899 and 1907. Another recipe from 1909 includes cayenne pepper as an ingredient, which may indicate an American origin. The more recent Australian versions typically use Worcestershire sauce, as does the local version of Oysters Kilpatrick.
It is sometimes served standing up like a miniature mountain. Pockets in the meat are made by small cuts, into which oysters are stuffed and sutured with toothpicks. As the dish is broiled, the flavour of the fresh oysters permeates the steak and blends with the juice of the tender meat. A strip of bacon may be wrapped around the serving and surrounded by peeled and browned baby potato halves. In one style, the steak is marinaded in a sauce of thyme, pepper, tarragon, lemon, sugar and tamarind and served with a glass of dessert wine. The steak can also be flambed with cognac, when it is called “Carpetbag Maxine style”. (Source Wikipedia).
With Professor Tim Noakes doing an about face on his diet advice, a nice, juicy carbetbag steak and chips seemed the perfect treat for a sunny afternoon lunch. I’d forego the dessert wine in favour of a nice peppery First Sighting Shiraz though. With fresh oysters a scarcity, I made do with my dad’s old standby, tinned mussels and it was delicious.
My physiotherapist is very angry with me, as my shoulder injury forbids gardening, but I am a stubborn one when I want something done. Big Red Betsy has settled in well, but she’s in my bad books today as she ate all my pansies.