Charred hanger steak with asparagus and blue cheese dressing
For the caramelised onion glaze
For the hanger steak
- 600g/1lb 5oz piece hanger steak
- 50g/1¾oz caster sugar
- 60g/2¼oz fine sea salt
- 2 juniper berries, crushed
- 1 garlic clove, crushed
- 1 bay leaf
For the basil oil
- 50g/1¾oz basil, leaves picked, washed and dried
- 125g/4½oz vegetable oil or other neutral oil
- pinch salt
For the asparagus
For the blue cheese dressing
- 45g/1½oz blue cheese, preferably Garstang blue cheese, plus extra to garnish
- 20g/¾oz goats' curd, preferably Leagram’s goats' curd
- 2 tbsp buttermilk
- 25g/1oz soured cream
- 25g/1oz mayonnaise
- 25g/1oz stock syrup (not too sweet; ratio of 30% sugar to 70% water)
- 1 small garlic clove, finely chopped
- salt, to taste
- Worcestershire sauce, to taste
- white wine vinegar, to taste
For the garnish
For the caramelised onion glaze, preheat the oven to 240C/220C Fan/Gas 9. Roast the onion on a tray for 1 hour or until the onion has softened and caramelised.
Meanwhile, for the hanger steak, put the sugar, salt, juniper berries, garlic, bay leaf and 500ml/18fl oz water into a large saucepan and set over a medium-high heat. Stir continuously while you bring the water to boiling point to help the sugar and salt dissolve. Remove from the heat and leave to cool completely. Put the hanger steak into the brine and leave for 1 hour at room temperature.
For the basil oil, roughly chop the basil leaves and place in the blender. Pour the oil into the blender and add a pinch of salt. Blend on full power for a couple of minutes until the basil leaves have completely broken down. Pass the oil through a sieve lined with muslin (cheesecloth) and allow to drain. Transfer to a small squeezy bottle or jar.
For the asparagus, pour 1 litre/1¾ pints water into a pan, bring to the boil and heavily season with the salt and sugar. When boiling, drop the asparagus into the water and cook for 1-2 minutes, or until the asparagus is just cooked. You should be able to just slip a small knife through the stem. Remove from the pan using a slotted spoon and plunge into a bowl of ice-cold water (this is to stop it cooking further and retain the colour).
For the dressing, put the cheese, curd, buttermilk, soured cream, mayonnaise, stock syrup and garlic in a blender (alternatively place in a jug and process with a stick blender). Pulse until smooth.
Season the dressing to taste with a little salt, Worcestershire sauce and white wine vinegar. Mix thoroughly and then store in a jar or a squeezy bottle in the fridge. Use within 4 days.
When the onion is soft and caramelised, remove from the oven, but leave the oven on. Remove the skin and squeeze as much juice from the onion as you can. Reserve the juice. Add the caster sugar and 25ml/1fl oz water to a small saucepan and heat until a caramel forms. Add the reserved onion juice and reduce until thick enough to coat the back of a spoon.
When you’re ready to cook the steak, preheat an ovenproof, heavy-based frying pan over a high heat. Remove the steak from the brine and pat dry using kitchen paper. Drizzle a little oil into the hot pan and sear until the steak is nicely charred. Brush a little onion caramel over the steak and transfer the pan to the oven. Roast for about 4 minutes.
Return the pan from the oven back onto a high heat. Pour some more onion caramel over the steak and cook over the high heat until the steak has become caramelised and sticky, basting with onion caramel. Allow to rest in a warm place for 5 minutes before carving.
To serve, drizzle some blue cheese dressing in the centre of the plate and arrange the warm asparagus on top. Garnish with a few chunks of blue cheese.
Slice the steak into portions and arrange on serving plates. Dress with the cooking juices from the steak, a drizzle of basil oil and the herbs and wild garlic or chive flowers. Serve immediately.