12thick asparagus spears (about 1½ bunches), halved widthways, thinly shaved on a mandolin2 punnetsbaby mustard cress, trimmed¼ cupfinely grated parmesan2 tspthyme leavesTo serve:Manchego, shavedCured beef⅓ cupthyme sprigs1 tbspblack peppercorns600 gmcoarse sea salt400 gmwhite sugar 1small beef fillet (about 600gm), trimmedMustard and buttermilk dressing60 ml (¼ cup)buttermilk1 tbspsour cream2 tspDijon mustard2 tspextra-virgin olive oilFinely grated rindof 1 lemon and juice of ½
For cured beef, coarsely crush thyme and peppercorns in a mortar and pestle. Stir in salt and sugar and transfer half to a non-reactive container large enough to fit beef snugly. Add beef, scatter over remaining salt mixture, cover and refrigerate to cure (3 days), then brush salt mixture from beef, pat dry with absorbent paper and season with freshly ground black pepper.
For mustard and buttermilk dressing, whisk ingredients in a bowl, season to taste and set aside.
Place asparagus in a bowl, drizzle over a little dressing, season to taste, toss to combine and set aside to marinate (5 minutes). Add cress, parmesan and thyme, season to taste and toss to combine.
Thinly slice beef across the grain, arrange on a platter, top with asparagus mixture and Manchego and serve with extra dressing.
This recipe is from the January 2012 issue of Australian Gourmet Traveller.