Saturday, December 11, 2010

Sunday Recipe: Cuban Flank Steak with Chimichurri

A couple of months ago, I was at Penzy's in the Strip District stocking up on spices. I was loading up on Vietnamese cinnamon (which I cannot recommend strongly enough), plus some Ancho chili powder and a handful of other goodies. Then I spotted the Fenugreek, which I needed for some recipe I wanted to try; to this day, I cannot remember what that fenugreek was for, but I did buy it. So I got that going for me. I also grabbed some Mexican oregano.

I had pooh-poohed the notion that Mexican oregano was all that different from the Greek variety, but I was there, so what the hell. Then I used it and it turns out that Mexican oregano is to Greek oregano as Thai basil is to Italian basil, which is to say, they're more like cousins than siblings. Yeah, you can see the family resemblance, but still, the flavor is most definitely it's own.

I mention this because I use the South of the Border oregano in my marinade for Cuban flank steak. I was having a meat craving the other day and my trip to one of my favorite new spots -- Brgr in East Liberty -- didn't quite quiet the meat monster within, so I decided to feed the meat monster with a flank steak today, using a variation of a recipe I tried over the summer (original here: the Three Guys from Miami.) I have adapted the recipe a bit, tweaked some ingredients and use a flank steak, whereas the Guys from Miami use a skirt steak. Personally, I love flank steaks because they are a pretty affordable cut (as steaks go). I'm serving the steak with a chimichurri and cuban black beans and rice on the side. That recipe follows, too.

You will need:
For the marinade:
10 cloves of garlic, peeled and coarsely chopped
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
3/4 c freshly squeezed orange juice
1/4 c freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/2 c freshly squeeze lime juice
3 to 5 shallots, minced
2 teaspoons mexican oregano
1 cup olive oil

For the chimichurri:
1 large bunch of cilantro leaves
2 cloves garlic
1/4 cup vinegar (cider vinegar will do)
juice of one lime
2/3 cup olive oil
1/2 cup yellow onion (diced)
healthy pinch of red pepper flakes

The Prep, Part 1 -- The meat:
Into the juice mixture, add the garlic, shallots, oregano, salt & pepper. Let sit at room temperature for about 30 minutes, then whisk in the olive oil. Place your flank steak in a baking dish and cover with the marinade. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least four hours; if you have time to do it overnight, even better.

The Prep, Part 2 -- The chimichurri:
While your meat is marinating, you can make the sauce. Be lazy. Use the food processor or your blender. Put everything except the olive oil in the food processor - garlic, cilantro, onion, lime juice, crushed red pepper and vinegar. You don't want to liquefy it, so pulse it quickly until you have a thick mixture, but not a paste. Add the salt and olive oil. Give it a taste. You may need/want more salt, more vinegar or more lime.

The Prep, Part 3 -- The Heat:
When you're ready to start cooking, get your grill really nice and hot. If you have one of those indoor grill pans, then I'm really jealous, because I'll be braving the cold and the ice outside using the gas grill one last time before bidding it a tearful goodbye for the winter. You can cook the meat from rare to well-done, but I recommend it on the rare side, as I think the flavor and texture are so much better that way. Be sure to let it rest for a few minute before serving.

Serve with the chimichurri and voila!

The Cuban Black Bean Recipe is here in a separate post.

I know these seem like a lot of instructions, but this is all do-ahead stuff, so it's great for entertaining. Once you get the marinade done, you can just kick up your feet and let it do it's thing. Now get to work.

And Go Steelers!

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