The World Cup Gourmet Series – Argentina: Grilled Flank Steak with Chimichurri Sauce
Today is Argentina day! :-) Argentina beat the Netherlands yesterday and scored a chance to win its third World Cup on Sunday, against Germany. Good luck with that though… Germany is a soccer machine this year! (Btw, I’m still bitter about Germany beating Brazil by 7-1, but I can’t deny that Germany is the best team this year!)
Brazilians and Argentinians have fought over soccer for years. It is a silly reason to hate each other, I know, and I don’t even know why it started. Possibly because of the whole “who’s better, Pelé or Maradona?” deal. I don’t really care if Pelé is better than Maradona or vice versa, but somehow I can’t cheer for Argentina… Sorry hermanos! Maybe it was programmed in my brain when I was little!! lol However, I do admire Argentina in every aspect other than soccer.
I’ve visited Argentina three times and it’s one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever been. Argentinians are amazing, beautiful people and they know how to party. Buenos Aires, the capital, exhales culture: it has the highest concentration of theaters in the world, lots of nightclubs, museums, restaurants and it has tango, and who doesn’t love tango? Bariloche, or San Carlos de Bariloche, the other city I’ve been, is situated on the foothills of the Andes on the southern shores of Nahuel Huapi Lakes. It is a city that economically depends on tourism all year around, but mostly during its winter (summer for the north continent), with lots of people going for skiing, trekking and also because of its chocolate and Swiss style architecture. I even went rafting for the first (and last) time ever! :-P People say Bariloche has an Aspen “feel”, but since I’ve never been to Aspen, I can’t opine on that.
So what about Argentinian cuisine, you may ask. All I can say is: don’t go to Argentina if you’re a vegetarian! They have the highest consumption of red meat in the world and, God!, they know what they are doing!!! My mouth waters just to think of their asado – their name for barbecue – my favorite being the bife de chorizo (sirloin). I can also testify for their empanadas (a small stuffed pastry), the dulce de leche (It is the best dulce de leche in the world, I swear!) and the alfajores (shortbread cookies sandwiched together with chocolate, dulce de leche or a fruit paste). They also have some of the finest wines in the world, mostly (60%) produced in Mendoza. Seriously, I would have a glass of Argentinian (or Chilean) wine over Californian wine any day!
Our recipe today is for flank steak with chimichurri sauce. The chimichurri is a green sauce used for grilled meat in Argentina. It consists of finely chopped parsley, minced garlic, olive oil, oregano and white or red wine vinegar.
For the chimichurri sauce, I’m using a food processor. I’m sure you can chop everything by hand, but why would you when a food processor can simplify the process? I have a Kitchen Aid 13-Cup that I absolutely love and recommend! I don’t know what would be of me without this food processor. If you’ve been wanting to invest in a food processor, now’s the time because Kitchen Aid is giving Olivia’s Cuisine’s readers 20% off on all Food Processors! Sweet, huh? Click here and use promo code FP20 at checkout! ;-)
So back to the chimichurri sauce. In the food processor, add the parsley, the oregano and the thyme and pulse until everything is nice and chopped. Add the garlic and pulse a few more times until the garlic is chopped. Be careful, because you want everything to be chopped and not puréed.
The chimichurri is a liquid sauce and not a pesto, so after the herbs and the garlic are chopped, we transfer them to a bowl so we can add the rest of the ingredients. Add the red pepper flakes (optional), the salt, the cumin, the black pepper, the lime juice, the red wine vinegar and, finally, the olive oil. Stir everything together and your chimichurri sauce is ready! It couldn’t be easier, right?
Now, the steak! The ideal would be to grill the meat in a charcoal grill but that’s impossible in my small NY apartment. So feel free to use yours if you have one! Also, I was going to use my salt block to grill the meat – since I’ve been obsessed with it (I promise to do a review on it soon!) – but the steak was too large for my salt block. So I’ve decided to use my cast iron instead and finish the steak in the oven.
So start by preheating your oven to 400 degrees.
Pat dry your steak with paper towel and then season with coarse salt and pepper on both sides.
Heat your cast iron over high heat. Drizzle it with olive oil (just to prevent the steak from sticking to the bottom) and let the oil get piping hot. Sear the steak on both sides until golden brown. That should take 5 minutes for each side.
Put your cast iron with the steak into the oven for about 5 minutes or more if you like your steak well done. Once it’s done, let your steak rest for 10 minutes before slicing it.
Slice your steak and serve it with the chimichurri sauce.
And for my soccer fan hermanos: Good luck on Sunday! May the best team (GERMANY) win! :P
Flank Steak with Chimichurri Sauce
For the chimichurri sauce
- Half a bunch of parsley
- A few springs of thyme, about 1 Tbsp
- A few springs of oregano, about 1 Tbsp
- 3 cloves of garlic
- 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes, optional
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 1/4 cup of red wine vinegar
- Juice of one lime
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- a pinch of salt
For the steak
- 1.5 lbs flank, or skirt steak
- coarse salt
- In a food processor, combine the parsley, oregano and thyme and pulse until everything is chopped.
- Add the garlic and pulse a few more times until the garlic is chopped and mixed with the herbs.
- Transfer the mixture to a bowl and add the salt, the red pepper flakes, the cumin, the pepper, the lime juice, the vinegar and the olive oil.
- Stir everything together and your chimichurri sauce is ready.
- Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.
- Season your steak with salt and pepper on both sides
- In a cast iron skillet, heat some olive oil over high heat until piping hot.
- Sear the steak for 5 minutes on each side or until golden brown.
- Transfer the cast iron with the steak to the oven and finish cooking for 5 more minutes (or more if you want your steak well done).
- Let the steak rest for 10 minutes before slicing.
- Serve the steak with the chimichurri sauce.
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