Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Warning: Lovers Only Beyond This Point!

Ones who live for the sharp bite on the tongue. Who dream of oozing that pungent aroma of love from every pore.

Ones who massage it’s sensuously indulgent oils into everything, from pasta to ice cream. Sauteed, roasted and raw.

Garlic lovers, that is.

You know who you are.

We do too! I mean, your breath gives you away from 100 yards!

A few weeks ago, I made some really great aioli. A fresh garlic concoction that perks up any number of tired dishes.

But I had read one of my blogs recently – I can’t remember which one, and I couldn’t find it again either – that talked about Chimichurri sauce. That quintessential Argentinean flavor.

And I developed a yearning for it that had to be quelled.

I used to go to a restaurant for lunch for a few years. Usually choosing a gloomy, rainy day. At the time, and in that city, there were many. This restaurant had a special ability to raise the spirits on such a day. It was an Argentine steak house.

I always got the same thing. No need to order, eventually. A nod to the waiter – always the same guy – and it was on the way. With a bowl of that green elixir. I didn’t know for a long time exactly what was in the bowl. Just that I liked it more and more. Didn’t matter how bad the day was. Sales for the quarter off? New employee lawsuit? Product returns? Financial audits starting? All that evaporated for an hour, etched away by that most pungent of sauces.

Of course, it helped that the steak was pretty good as well. And the waiter always brought an espresso and a shot of some schnapps or another to help with the digestion.

I hadn’t thought much about that lately until I read that blog on the sauce. That kind of set the wheels in motion.

Of course around here, this sort of thing has to be planned carefully to occur as if by accident. Mostly it’s just fish, chicken and veggies. And I was really in the mood for the sauce on a steak.

Our recent bout of illness opened the door of opportunity. I had made some broccoli beef recently (I get to make this because of all the broccoli, and who ever heard of broccoli chicken?!). And as some were already suffering, I made half the amount, meaning that a whole 2 pound flank steak was left.

Well, worse than eating cow is letting something go to waste (thank you!). So I planned to spring the steak surprise on everyone on Memorial day. Hey! It’s already a steak sort of day. And who wants to shop on a holiday?

So, I went to work looking to make my sauce. As mentioned, the original blog could no longer be found. But there are lots of recipes on the internet. Problem is, all are different. And they differ a lot. Some have three times as much red wine vinegar as others. Or jalapeno chilis. Or other ingredients that I know were not in the one I enjoyed. So I borrowed for many, and combined them to make a sauce that seemed to be close to what I was thinking of.

And then I got greedy. 4 cloves of garlic? Hell – 6, no 8! If I’m going to make the sauce, then I’m going to make a sauce worth remembering!

The first bowl just melted. From the heat of the garlic. It was plastic anyways. I moved to ceramic. That held up better. Initial taste – not bad. Not bad. But it needed time to develop it’s flavor. So I left it for a few hours. And magic occurred.

The steak – just a flank steak. I marinated it in olive oil for an hour. I roasted it under the broiler (it will take more than a three day weekend to get the grill ready to go!). Sliced thin, and the sauce drizzled on top.

Garlic heaven. For pure, unadulterated, adult style garlic fun, I think the chimichurri sauce beats out the aioli. The aioli sauce has the eggs to sort of mellow out the edges. The chimichurri sauce, even though based on parsley, is just straight ahead garlic power.

We balanced this mouth tingling, stomach churning powerhouse with a wonderful golden beet salad set on sorrel leaves. With a nice lemon thyme dressing. The golden beets, roasted, are sweet and tender. The sorrel, when eaten raw, has a powerful flavor of its own. A distinctive lemony flavor. And you need something strong to cut through the garlicky chimichurri sauce.

I think everyone enjoyed the final result. Even though we are not much of steak eaters here, the steak was fine (well, really not much of a steak). The salad was wonderful. But the sauce – pure love!

Chimichurri Sauce
Recipe by surfindaave

Note – I made this recipe using a food processor. Alternatively, you can chop the parsley fine and whisk the sauce together by hand. I will try this next time.

1 large bunch flat leaf parsley
2-3 tsp dried oregano, or 2-3 tbsp chopped fresh oregano
¼ to ½ cup red wine vinegar
juice from ½ lemon
approx. 1 cup olive oil to taste

Combine first 6 ingredients in a blender of food processor. Mix. Add oil in a stream, while mixing, tasting often, until desired consistency and flavor are reached. Let sit for several hours to allow flavors to develop. Spoon over meats, chicken, etc. Enjoy!

Argentine-style Grilled Steak
Recipe by surfindaave

Good quality skirt steak
Olive oil
Salt, pepper
Chimichurri sauce
Fresh bread, warmed in oven (to soak up the juices, of course!)

Rub steak well with olive oil, and season with salt and pepper. Let sit for at least 30 minutes at room temperature. Grill over hot coals until just charred on the outside. Turn. Repeat on other side. Remove from heat and let steak sit for 5 to 10 minutes. Slice into thin slices against grain. Drizzle with chimichurri sauce. Serve. Enjoy!

Golden Beet Salad on Sorrel with Goat Cheese and Pine Nuts
Recipe by surfindaave

6 to 8 small golden beets, trimmed and washed
olive oil
2 small bunches sorrel leaves, washed and trimmed.
2-3 tbsp fresh thyme
juice from 1 lemon
salt, pepper
4 ounces goat cheese, crumbled
¼ cup pine puts, toasted

Rub beets with olive oil. Place in baking dish, and cover tightly with aluminum foil. Place in oven and roast for 1 to 1 ½ hour, until just tender when tested with a fork. Remove from oven, and let cool for a few minutes. When cool enough to handle, remove peels. Set aside to cool completely.

In a small bowl, whisk together lemon juice, thyme, salt and pepper. Whisking, drizzle in olive oil until emulsified. Taste and season as necessary. Let sit to allow flavors to combine.

Arrange sorrel leaves on a large serving platter. Slice beets into 1 inch slices and arrange over sorrel. Sprinkle crumbled goat cheese over salad. Sprinkle with pine nuts. Spoon dressing over salad and serve. Enjoy!

Tags : : : : : : : : :


Blogger ilva said...

s'kat and the food posted about chimichurri for this whb. Great now I have two recipes to choose between. or fuse into one....

10:41 AM  
Blogger surfindaave said...

Ilva - thanks for the comment! But what a wonderful dilema! Actually, it turns out I saw the sauce on Ruth's site at Once Upon a Feast. She has a few nice looking variations as well!

10:58 AM  

Post a Comment

<< Home