Serves 6 to 8
Churrasco is a traditional Argentinean dish made with skirt steak, a flavorful but fairly tough piece of meat cut from the beef skirt. The cut was invented by a famous steakhouse in Nicaragua, called Los Ranchos, and the objective is to imitate the look of a long strip of steak that, when cooked, is tender enough to be cut with a fork. I make my version with beef tenderloin—it's not as economical as using skirt steak, but it elevates a humble dish to company food.
6 cloves garlic
3 bay leaves
2 jalapeño chiles,
with seeds, coarsely chopped
1-1/2 tablespoons salt
1/2 cup finely minced fresh curly parsley
1/2 cup fresh finely minced flat-leaf parsley
1/4 cup fresh finely minced oregano
1/4 cup distilled white vinegar
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 (5-pound) whole beef tenderloin
Salt and freshly ground pepper.
1. To make the chimichurri, combine the garlic, bay leaves, jalapeños, and salt in a mortar and mash with a pestle until a smooth paste is formed (or you can purée with a small amount of vinegar in a blender). Transfer to a mixing bowl and add the parsleys and oregano. Whisk in the vinegar and olive oil until well combined. Set aside.
2. Prepare a medium-hot fire in the grill.
3. Trim the meat and remove any silverskin. Cut into 2-1/2 -inch-thick rounds. Take the boning knife and cut in a circular motion so each round becomes one flat, long strip. Then, with a butcher's mallet, pound the meat lightly. Season each strip generously with salt and pepper on each side.
4. Lightly oil the grate and place the meat on the grate. Grill for 3 minutes on each side for medium-rare.
5. Transfer the meat to a serving plate. Serve with the chimichurri on the side.
Latin Flavors on the Grill
With Andrew DiCataldo
Ten Speed Press, 2000
Color photos throughout
Recipe reprinted by permission.
This page created December 2000
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