Some recipes haunt you. They lodge themselves inside your head and remind you of your existence every time you open the fridge and wonder what you’re going to make for dinner that evening. I’ve not stopped thinking about Heidi Swanson’s Asparagus Panzanella since it popped up on my RSS feed. It’s the perfect Spring recipe – one which is simple, elegant and can be thrown together in half an hour. (Plus, she recommends topping it with a chopped hard boiled egg and – as we all know – everything is better when you put an egg on it.)
But, me being me, I had to tinker with it a bit. My bunch of asparagus didn’t look substantial enough on its own, so I added the leftovers of a box of mixed leaves I got in my Abel and Cole delivery. I had a pack of white miso lying unloved at the back of my fridge, so I decided to add it to the dressing to round it out a bit and add an extra ping of sweetness. And (while I never really need much of an excuse to eat steak), I’d had a bit of a crappy day, so lets throw a bit of medium rare rump in there too.
While it may not look as refined as the original, sometimes there’s no shame in being a bit rough and ready. This is a spring salad which satisfies, and the perfect way to celebrate English asparagus season while you’re at it.
STEAK AND ASPARAGUS SALAD
Adapted from 101 Cookbooks
You will need:
- 1 medium sized piece of rump steak
- 80 ml buttermilk
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
- 1 tablespoon white miso (optional)
- 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
- 1 bunch of (English) asparagus
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 large handful of good quality sourdough, torn into chunks
- 1 large handful of mixed salad leaves (I used these baby leaves I got from Abel and Cole)
- Cook your steak (make sure you oil the meat, not the pan!) I find that two – three minutes on each side does the trick to get it medium rare, although this will depend on the thickness of your steak.
- Make the dressing by whisking together the buttermilk, olive oil, mustard, vinegar, white miso, and a pinch of salt. Taste and adjust if needed, before setting aside.
- Melt the butter in a large skillet, add the cubes of sourdough bread and toss until every nook and cranny is smothered in melted butter. Continue to toss them gently on a medium heat until they turn crispy and golden. Transfer to a paper towel.
- Trim the asparagus and blanch in a saucepan of salted boiling water until just tender – around a minute or so. Add the blanched asparagus to the rinsed mixed leaves.
- Slice the steak against the grain into thin stripes. Add to the bowl, along with the toasted bread and a healthy drizzle of the buttermilk-miso dressing. Serve with a large glass of wine.