Written by Erica Galindo
In northern California hot summer days fade into cool summer nights, long hours of daylight are perfect for cooking outdoors. Since we are in peak BBQ season and my husband is always up for manning the grill, I decided to work on a Sonoma style Chimichurri sauce – a sauce originating in Argentina, specifically created for grilled meat.
There are two versions of Chimichurri – green and red. The green is typically made up of parsley, various herbs and some garlic, with red wine vinegar plus additional spices. Nicknamed the unofficial “Argentine BBQ Sauce” there are a lot of variations to be found. After trying quite a few, I came up with my own Sonoma style.
The biggest question seems to be a matter of oregano, but I opted for mint and cilantro instead, and added a generous amount of fresh lemon juice. For extra heat I added some jalapeno and cumin powder.
To make a red version, you can add tomato and red bell pepper.
The uses for this sauce are endless. Recently I added it to a pot of Cuban style black beans, and it made the dish. Then I I tried it with a sour cream horseradish sauce that I served with crispy fried cod (recipe to come). It can also be used as a marinade for grilled meat. In my kitchen, I would use this in almost everything.
But to take this dish to the ultimate level of mouthwatering nirvana, it’s important to get a good cut of meat and give it a couple hours to marinate. I tried this dish with flank steak, and found I much prefer the skirt, as it is more juicy and tender overall.
Inspired by the Argentinian heritage of this dish, I chose to marinate the skirt steak in a Spanish Rioja. Castillo de Monseran is bold and deep, and full of Herbal overtones, bursting ripe berry and plum fruit of the Garnacha. It sells for less than $10. dollars and works great for steak and pork marinades.
The rich flavor of a juicy grilled skirt steak is the perfect protein for Chimichurri. To marinate I cover the meat with the wine along with some of the fresh herbs and garlic from the Chimichurri.
A light vegetable such as the French cut beans Haricort Verts are a perfect complement to the rich smokey grilled steak. These green beans are a thinner more petite version of American style green beans, and they are tender and delicious. The green makes a beautiful color contrast next to the steak and echos the Chimichurri on the plate.
In California, Haricort Verts are easy to find at Trader Joes, otherwise, they should be available at Whole Foods Market or other specialty grocers.
My husband David was born to grill. In fact, you can find him behind the grill at almost every church BBQ, flipping hundreds of burgers with his endless energy, servant’s heart and big cheshire cat smile.
To round off the plate I chose Dutch yellow baby potatoes which were roasted with a little evoo and salt and pepper until golden brown, then drizzled with hot melted butter. My family absolutely loves them!
These are the two handsome faces that I get to cook for everyday. I am a blessed woman! I love to make them feel special and loved with my passion for everyday gourmet cooking. Drop me a note and let me know all the fun ways you find to use your leftover Chimichurri. From our Christian home to yours~ blessings and Bon Appetit!
Grilled Skirt Steak with Sonoma Chimichurri
- 2 lbs Skirt steak
- 1 cup Spanish Rioja
- 1/2 cup flat leaf parsley, chopped fine
- 3 tbsp garlic, minced
- 2 tbsp jalapeno, seeded and minced
- 2 tbsp cilantro, chopped
- 2 tbsp fresh mint leaves, chopped fine
- 2 tbsp red wine vinegar
- 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 4 1/2 tbsp lemon juice, freshly squeezed
- 1 tbsp cumin powder
- salt and red pepper flakes to taste
- Marinate the Steak: Salt and pepper the steak and place in a shallow baking dish. Add garlic and some of the extra herbs from the Chimichurri and the Rioja. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 2 hours, turning at least once.
- Make the Chimichurri: In a food processor, pulse the garlic and jalapeno until finely chopped. Add the parsley, cilantro, mint and evoo. Transfer to a mixing bowl and stir in the red wine vinegar, lemon juice and cumin powder. Add salt and red pepper flakes to taste. Set aside.
- Grill the steak: Preheat grill to high heat. Drain excess marinade and cook steak for approximately 2-3 minutes each side, or until well seared on the outside and rare on the inside. Remove from heat and transfer to a cutting board. Let rest for 5 minutes. Cut the meat into 3-4 inch strips.
- Arrange on plate with Haricorts Verts and baby potatoes. Garnish with a generous serving of Chimichurri on top. Serve with extra sauce on the table.