Despite the foreign sounding name, it appears that beef salpicao is a Filipino dish. Is it related to the Portuguese sausage called salpicão? Well, the Filipino beef salpicao is definitely not a sausage but, rather, a garlicky quick-braised dish.
It was a challenge finding the history of this dish, I still don’t know where in the Philippines it first appeared but I did discover two things which may help explain the “salpicao” part of its name.
First, salpicado is a Spanish word which means “spattered with” (thank you, Clair). Considering that the Philippines was a Spanish colony for over four centuries, “salpicao” just might be a derivative of salpicado.
Second, farther search led me to references to salpicao as a Brazilian word. I found a Brazilian-English translator which says that salpicao means “dotty” in English. I figure that “spattered with” and “dotty” might just refer to the gazillion bits of garlic in beef salpicao. Maybe. Perhaps. Arguable. Debatable.
What isn’t in doubt is how delicious beef salpicao is. Tender and juicy beef cubes that are salty and subtly sweet and boldly smelling and tasting of garlic. The way the meat tastes and smells, you’d think it has been flavored by a hundred spices.
But beef salpicao has very few ingredients! The simplicity in the preparation and the startling deep flavors… it’s just the perfect main dish for a party. You can even serve it as a cocktail food! Place in a shallow bowl, hand out small forks and voila!
Wagyu Beef Salpicao
- 500 grams Wagyu beef cut into one-inch cubes
- 2 tablespoons finely grated garlic
- ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
To cook the salpicao
- 3 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
- 3 tablespoons liquid seasoning (I used Knorr — I do not recommend substituting soy sauce)
- 200 grams button mushrooms
- 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- Place the beef cubes between stacks of paper towels and press down to remove excess water.
- Place the beef in a bowl, add the grated garlic, pepper and olive oil. Mix well.
- Cover and keep in the fridge for two hours.
- Stir together the Worcestershire sauce and liquid seasoning.
- Cut the mushrooms into quarters (or into halves, if they are rather small).
- Place the marinated beef cubes in a bowl, add the flour, cover and shake to coat the cubes evenly.
- Heat the butter and olive oil in a wide shallow pan — wide enough to contain the beef cubes in a single layer. The heat should be very high.
- When the olive oil and butter are hot, add the floured beef, spreading the pieces so that every piece touches the oil. Do not stir for a minute or so to allow the underside to brown. Keep the heat very high.
- Turn the beef cubes every half minute to brown all sides.
- Pour in the Worcestershire sauce and liquid seasoning.
- Stir briskly; the sauce should thicken quite fast.
- Add the mushrooms and stir.
- Cook for a minute or so until the mushrooms are just done and have soaked up some of the thick sauce.
- Serve your wagyu beef salpicao as a main course or as an appetizer.