Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Steak and Asparagus Salad with Warm Hoisin Dressing

This is another weeknight dinner you can put together quickly and easily using great spring produce. The dressing can be made while the steak and asparagus are cooking, so the whole thing can be ready to go in about 30 minutes. Or 45 if you're trying to drink a glass of wine and watch videos on your iPad at the same time you're cooking. Or wrangle little people. Oh, who am I kidding? If you're trying to wrangle little people, it will probably take you two glasses of wine and an hour. But it's still simple.

I'm cooking for two here, so if you're doing more, you'll want to bump the ingredients up except the dressing. there's enough for four on that.

First, heat up your grill. For gas, I kick it up to about 400. Generously salt and pepper beef filets. You can use another cut of steak, but I like this one because it's nice and tender and I think it goes better with salad greens.

Toss the steak on the grill and while that's cooking, drizzle a bunch of asparagus with olive oil and then salt and pepper it. When the steak is done, (for me that's about 7 - 10 minutes) take it off the grill and set it aside and put the asparagus on. Cook it until it's crisp-tender, about 5 minutes or so. I like mine a little blackened. No, really! I did that on purpose.

Mix together the dressing while the asparagus is cooking. Put a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Add about a tablespoon of olive oil, then sweat 3 minced cloves of garlic and a tablespoon until the garlic is tender, about 3 - 4 minutes. Add a quarter cup of chicken stock, 3 tablespoons of hoisin sauce, 2 tablespoons of rice wine vinegar, 2 teaspoons of soy sauce, a teaspoon of dijon mustard and a teaspoon of honey. Whisk that all together and simmer it until it's reduced by about a third. That takes about five minutes, so at some point during all that, you're going to want to scoot out and pull the asparagus off the grill. Let the dressing cool slightly.

Put about 2 cups of watercress or mixed salad greens in a large bowl and toss with about a quarter of the dressing (more or less - depending on how wet you like your salad). Divide the dressed greens between two plates. top with the grilled asparagus, then slice the beef across the grain and place the slices on the asparagus. Drizzle with more dressing to taste and there you go. Dinner.

If you'd like to give it a try in your own kitchen, here's the .pdf. If you take a picture of it, though, turn the plate around so you get a shot of the top of the asparagus and not the stubby ends. Sheesh.

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