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Flank Steak Stuffed with Asparagus Pesto

Pesto can be made from virtually any green, leafy vegetable or herb, and even some stalks, like asparagus. Here, par-boiled asparagus blends beautifully into a pesto with bright green color and earthy flavor. The fiber-rich paste is spiraled into a juicy roll of flank steak for a festive presentation. Any leftover pesto is delicious on pasta, spread on whole-grain bruschetta with fresh mozzarella, or as a filling for an omelette.

Ingredients:

For the asparagus pesto:

  • 1/2 tsp. salt, plus more, to taste
  • 3/4 lb. (375 g) asparagus, trimmed
  • 3 Tbs. pine nuts
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • Grated zest of 1 lemon
  • 1/2 cup (2 oz./60 g) grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
  • 6 Tbs. (3 fl. oz./90 ml) olive oil

For the flank steak:

  • 1 to 1 3/4 lb. (500 to 875 g) flank steak, butterflied
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • 2 tsp. olive oil

Directions:

To make the pesto, bring a saucepan of water to a boil over high heat. Add the 1/2 tsp. salt and the asparagus and cook until just tender, about 4 minutes. Drain and immediately plunge into a bowl filled with ice water to stop the cooking. Drain well. Transfer the asparagus, pine nuts and garlic to a food processor and pulse to finely chop. Add the lemon zest, cheese and olive oil and puree until smooth. Season with salt and set aside.

Preheat an oven to 400°F (200°C).

To prepare the steak, lay it flat on a work surface and season with salt and pepper. Spread a 1/4-inch (6-mm) layer of the pesto over the top of the steak, leaving about a 1/2-inch (12-mm) border around the edges. Roll the steak up with the grain and lay it seam-side down on the work surface. Using kitchen twine, tie the steak roll in 4 different places, each about 2 inches (5 cm) apart.

In a large fry pan over high heat, warm the olive oil. Add the steak and sear, turning once, until browned, about 3 minutes per side. Transfer the steak to a baking sheet and place in the oven. Roast until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the center of the meat registers about 125°F (52°C) for very rare to rare, 20 to 25 minutes.

Transfer the steak to a carving board, cover loosely with aluminum foil and let rest for 10 minutes. Remove the strings, slice the steak and serve immediately. Serves 4 to 6.

Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Healthy Dish of the Day, by Kate McMillan (Weldon Owen, 2014).