Sunday, May 25, 2008

Virginia is for steak lovers

I am visiting my boyfriend, who lives in Northern Virginia, for the week. Making dinner for him is always quite the challenge, as our tastes are very different: he is a staunch carnivore who loves his steaks and hamburgers while I prefer steamed tofu and veggies. I finally caved in, and agreed to make him a steak dinner, but with a few healthy twists. Instead of drenching the steak in A-1, I decided to pair it with a refreshing chimichurri sauce (adapted from Emeril Lagasse), a sauce typically used in Argentina. I also made a black bean, corn, and tomato salad with a lemon olive oil dressing--a perfect summer salad--and brown rice as side dishes. This way, both my boyfriend and I were supremely satisfied and fantastically full after our meal. It can be a great menu for Memorial Day as well. Here are the recipes:

Steak with Chimichurri Sauce (adapted from Emeril Lagasse)

1 cup extra-virgin olive oil
2/3 cup sherry wine vinegar (I substituted red wine vinegar)
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley
4 tablespoons chopped fresh basil leaves
1 tablespoon chopped fresh oregano leaves (substituted 3/4 T dry oregano)
3 tablespoons minced garlic
2 tablespoons minced shallots
3/4 teaspoon fresh cracked black pepper
2 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1 (1 3/4 to 2-pound) skirt steak

In the bowl of a food processor, combine the olive oil, sherry vinegar, lemon juice, parsley, basil, oregano, garlic and shallots. Pulse until well blended but do not puree. Add 1/4 teaspoon of the black pepper, 1/2 teaspoon of salt, and the crushed red pepper. Remove 1 cup of the chimichurri sauce from the processor and transfer to a non-reactive bowl, cover with plastic wrap and reserve at room temperature for up to 6 hours. (If cooking steak another day, refrigerate sauce and return to room temperature before serving.)

Season the steak with 1 teaspoon of the kosher salt on each side, as well as 1/4 teaspoon of the black pepper per side and place in a large, resealable plastic bag. Add the remaining chimichurri sauce from the processor. Seal bag and refrigerate the steak for at least 2 and up to 4 hours.

Preheat a grill to medium heat.

Once the steak has finished marinating, remove it from the refrigerator and let it come to room temperature for 30 minutes. Brush the excess chimichurri sauce off the steak and set the steak over the hot grill. Cook for 6 minutes on the first side. Rotate the steak 45 degrees, and cook another 6 minutes. Turn the steak over and continue to cook until the steak is done, about 6 to 8 minutes for medium-rare. Once cooked, lay the steak on a clean cutting board, and allow it to rest for 5 to 7 minutes before slicing across the grain into 2-inch wide strips. Serve with crusty bread and the reserved chimichurri sauce.

**Since I did not have a grill, I seared the steak in a pan with olive oil for 30-45 seconds on each side. Then, I cooked it in the oven at 350 degrees for 5-15 minutes (depending on how you like your steak cooked, I did mine medium well). Make sure, if you have more than one steak, not to put them too close together on the pan. Otherwise the steaks will "sweat" rather than broil.

Even without a grill, the steak came out moist, tender, and full of flavor!

Black Bean, Corn, and Tomato Salad (adapted from

3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons olive oil
a 15-ounce can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 cup cooked fresh corn kernels (from about 2 ears)
1 plum tomato, seeded and chopped
1 scallion, minced
2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley leaves
a pinch cayenne (I added much more than a pinch--about 1 t)
4 large Boston lettuce leaves, rinsed and spun dry (optional)

In a bowl whisk together lemon juice, oil, and salt to taste. Stir in remaining ingredients, except lettuce leaves, with salt and black pepper to taste and let salad stand, stirring once or twice, 15 minutes for flavors to develop. Line 2 plates with lettuce and divide salad between them.

Van a comer! (Let's eat!)


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