Monday, June 27, 2011

Chimichurri - A Miami Influenced Steak Dinner

Living in Miami has definitely influenced how and what we eat.  Not only am I more into eating local and organic than ever before (mostly due to the proximity of Whole Foods Market), but Latin influences have found their way into my kitchen.  It is even evident by how our toddler asks for beans and rice multiple times a week.   Tonight I fixed Chimichurri Marinated Steak with rice & beans and roasted asparagus.  It was a hit with the entire family and quite simple to prepare.  Hope you enjoy a taste of Miami!

Rice and BeansMake any standard package of rice and black beans (following the instructions on the package - the beans usually require to be soaked overnight).  We prefer to serve standard white rice with the black beans (liquid and all) poured over the rice.  Its how we've had it millions of times since we've been in Miami and love it!  Just season up the beans as you cook them with some garlic, salt, and a bay leaf.

Roasted Asparagus
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.  Wash the asparagus and cut about 2 inches off the bottom (usually too tough to eat).   Place on cookie sheet, drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with kosher salt, and bake for 10-15 min depending on how thick the stalks are. 

Chimichurri Sauce and Marinade
My recipe was adapted from a recipe I found in Food & Wine, from Michell Bernstein, a Miami native and chef/owner of Michy's on Miami Beach.    

1/4 cup finely chopped parsley
3 tablespoons red wine vinegar 
4 large garlic cloves, minced (2 1/2 tablespoons)  
2 tablespoons finely chopped cilantro
1/3 cup sliced scallions (optional, but I had them leftover from another recipe and they added great flavor)
1 teaspoons crushed red pepper 
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper 
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil  
Mix to combine.  Use as marinade for 24 hours, or as sauce after letting sit in fridge overnight.

To Prepare the Steak:
I used a piece of beef called the sirloin flap, which is traditionally served with the chimichurri sauce.   If you can't find this cut, you can use flank steak, sirloin, or even london broil.  Make the chimichurri the night before and place the steak (about 1.8 lbs of beef) in a gallon sized ziploc bag with the marinade in the refrigerator overnight (turn once in the morning).

About 20 min before dinner time, preheat the grill.  Grill the meat on med-high for about 5 min on each side or until done to your liking (reserve the marinade as it will be used as a sauce served with the grilled steak).  The cooking time will depend on the thickness of your steak, so you can always rely on the finger test.  Push the center of the steak with your finger or grill tool and see how much it gives.  The softer it is, the more rare the center.

While the steak is grilling, warm up the left-over marinade in the microwave or on the stove top to kill any bacteria from the raw meat and serve it as a sauce with the steak.  Traditionally, you would reserve some of the chimichurri from the night before and serve it at room temperature (ingredients still raw).  Either way, it tastes just as good.

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