I was looking for organic steak at Fairway Market in Plainview – one of my favorite places to shop for higher-end yet still reasonably-priced staples like Spanish chorizo, olive oils, tomato in cans, organic eggs — but instead found an irresistible deal: U.S.D.A. prime hanger steak for $6.99 a pound. The prime designation means a higher quality of steak with loads of marbling (yes, fat) and virtuous me didn’t stand a chance against cheapskate bloodthirsty carnivorous me, so I bought 1.5 lbs and started to plan.
My friend Ashley was coming over, so I knew I’d have some support staff for child care AND prep, so I chose to do something I’ve been hankering after for weeks: Asian-flavored steak with asparagus. It is just slightly labor-intensive, but a show-stopper and I really should have given it to you earlier as a Super Bowl option, but better late than never.
We did half the meat that night, after the little guy was down (with a belly full of pizza and a promise of steak the next day). Must confess, once the pretty pictures were taken, we heaped all of the bites haphazardly on a plate, each grabbed a fork, and fell in like starving raptors from the Cretaceous Period.
The rest – two small steaks — I cooked whole the following evening on the broiler at our friend, Pam’s, without the asparagus (Yes, Leandro got his!). They were just as tasty, but almost 24 hours in the marinade did leave them almost too tender. The following recipe can be jiggled; use the greater amount of asparagus if you want to do all of the steak in wraps.
Anyhooo, I will be doing these the next time I entertain. I hope you will too!
Asian steak and asparagus bites
(factor in minimum marinating time of 30 minutes)
3 cloves garlic, minced fine
2 inch of ginger, peeled indifferently, and grated (about 1.5 packed Tbs; add more to taste)
2 tsp sesame oil
2 Tbs rice vinegar
4 Tbs soy sauce
1 – 1.5 lbs hanger steak (or other fairly thin, tender boneless cut)
1 – 2 lbs asparagus spears, washed, woody stems snapped off, and chopped into 2-inch pieces
Mix all ingredients except meat in a plastic freezer bag or a bowl. Add steak, coat thoroughly and then refrigerate for at least 30 minutes and up to 24 hours.
Preheat oven to 350°F.
Reserving marinade, slice marinated steak ACROSS THE GRAIN* into thin slices and then cut the slices into strips suitable for wrapping artfully or not so artfully around asparagus spears. Lay steak and asparagus bites onto an oven rack with a catch dish underneath. Pour remaining marinade over and salt to taste. Cook for 5 minutes on each side (7-8 for well done) and serve.
*Cutting steaks across the grain
cuts through the fibers that hold the muscles together and shortens them so the meat can barely hold together, thus, tenderness. This is especially necessary with my favorite muscle-y cuts: skirt steak (churrasco), flank steak and hanger steak. When raw, you will see natural lines across the meat. Slice against them (at a 90° angle, if I have understood Kenji at Food Lab
(Serious Eats) correctly).