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Bulgogi Beef & Spring Asparagus Bibimbap

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Ever attempt Korean at home?  Maybe it’s time you should.  After all, Korean cooking is booming around the country, so we thought we’d put a seasonal twist on the Korean classic, Bibimbap.

Translated to “mixed rice,” the traditional dish bibimbap is great eaten hot, cold literally any time of day.  We’ve topped ours with a fried egg, tender spring asparagus (more common additions include julienned cucumber, zucchini, daikon radish and mushrooms) and strips of bulgogi – or marinated, grilled beef.  Add a dollop of kimchi or gochujang (fermented chili pepper paste) at the end for Korea’s signature kick.

Beef and Asparagus Bibimbap
(Serves 4)

Ingredients:
1 lb New York strip steak, trimmed
3 tbs toasted sesame seeds
1/2 cup soy sauce
3 tbs + 2 tsp sesame oil
2 green onions, finely chopped
3 tbs light brown sugar, divided
1 tbs black rice vinegar
1 tbs garlic, minced
1 tbs fresh ginger, minced
1 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
3/4 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp hot smoked paprika
4 tbs Korean red pepper paste (gochujang)
1 lb slender asparagus
2 tbs olive oil plus more for brushing
4 large eggs
4 cups steamed white rice
Kimchi, for serving

Directions:
Place steak in freezer for 1/2 hour to make slicing easier.  Meanwhile, make marinade, paste mixture, and sesame salt.

To make the marinade:
 Combine 1 tbs. toasted sesame seeds, soy, 2 tbs. sesame oil, green onions, 2 tbs. brown sugar, black rice vinegar, garlic, ginger, and red pepper flakes in medium bowl.  Once steak is somewhat firm, remove from freezer and slice crosswise into 1/8 thick slices.  Add to marinade and let sit at room temperature for at least 1/2 hour.

To make the Korean hot pepper paste:
 Combine 1 tbs sesame seeds, 2 tsp sesame oil, 1 tbs toasted sesame seeds, and 1 tbs brown sugar.  Set aside.

To make the sesame salt:
 Combine remaining 1 tbs sesame seeds, 3/4 t sea salt, and paprika in spice grinder or mortar and pestle.  Combine until somewhat smooth.  Set aside.

To make the bibimbop: Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.  Add asparagus and sauté until crisp-tender, about 4 minutes.  Remove to plate and toss with the remaining sesame oil, sesame seeds and brown sugar.

Brush grill pan or skillet with vegetable oil.  Working in batches, grill steak until just browned, about 1 minute per side.  Set aside.

Crack eggs onto skillet.  Cook until whites are set but yolks are still runny, 2 to 3 minutes.

Divide warm rice among bowls.  Top with asparagus, beef, and a fried egg, and sprinkle with sesame salt.  Serve with Korean hot pepper paste mixture and kimchi.

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