The somewhat rustic anchovy sauce is a simple enough recipe to bring together. It is great in this arrangement but also a perfect dressing for a variety of vegetables. I particularly like the anchovy sauce folded through a big bowl of cold blanched broccoli.
800g quality skirt steak or 4 pieces strip loin
16 asparagus spears
1 tbsp butter
½ clove garlic
4 basil leaves
pinch of dried chilli
4 tbsp mayonnaise
1 tsp lemon juice
1. Take the beef from the fridge and season with a good pinch of salt. Allow to come to room temperature on a plate for an hour or so.
2. Meanwhile make the anchovy sauce by crushing the garlic and basil leaves in a mortar and pestle. Add the anchovy fillets and chilli, and pound vigorously to make a coarse paste. Stir in the mayonnaise and lemon juice. Taste and adjust seasoning with a pinch of salt if required.
3. To cook the beef, preheat your barbecue or grill. Pat the beef dry of any moisture and drizzle a little olive oil over the beef. Grill the beef, turning from time to time and continue to cook for 5-8 minutes or until it reaches your preferred level of "doneness". When the beef is cooked, set it aside to rest.
4. Meanwhile bring a pan of salted water to a simmer. Blanch the asparagus for one minute, if you like it really crunchy. If not, cook it for 1 minute longer. When the asparagus is ready, take a pair of tongs and quickly and carefully remove the spears from the boiling water. Place the cooked asparagus in a large bowl, add the soft butter and a good pinch of salt and plenty of black pepper. Continue to toss for a minute so all the asparagus is nicely coated.
5. To serve, slice the beef thinly and arrange on four dinner plates. Arrange the asparagus alongside the beef and drizzle with the melted butter from the bowl. Smother the asparagus with the anchovy dressing, dust the dish with plenty of black pepper and serve immediately.
If you like this recipe, try Andrew's asparagus salad with hazelnuts and soft-boiled egg.