Chimichurri with steak is certainly not a new idea, and in fact it's probably the most common way that this Argentinian sauce is used (and they know a thing or two about steak in that country). The garlicky, herbal flavors marry beautifully with the richness and fattiness of steak, not to mention its visually stunning contrast of green against red. Flipping through this month's Esquire magazine, I was immediately drawn in by this variation on chimmichurry from Ted Allen's new book In My Kitchen.
Why I Picked This Recipe: I've had chimichurri in a few different variations, but never with roasted fresh chilis, in this case jalapeños, which lend some body and thickness to the sauce. Once they're blackened and charred (then peeled and seeded) they also bring a smoky, grassy, sweet flavor. It ended up being one of the best chimichurri sauces I've tasted.
What Worked: Besides the roasted jalapeño addition, I also loved the subtle but effective use of red wine in the recipe (just 3 tablespoons, in fact). Obviously red wine and steak go well together, and I found that it added complexity and richness to the chimichurri that red wine vinegar along couldn't achieve. It highlighted that same richness in the steak.
What Didn't: In this case, nothing. No complaints about this recipe whatsoever.
Suggested Tweaks: Skirt steak is unfortunately getting expensive in some markets, and I actually ended up using a flat piece of hanger steak for half the price that grilled up beautifully. Any well-marbled cut will work (and a little bit of chewiness is actually preferable), since it will be sliced thinly against the grain anyway--though skirt steak is the best option.
Adapted from In My Kitchen.
- 2 jalapeño chilis
- 2 cups cilantro leaves and sprigs, finely chopped
- 2 cups parsley leaves and sprigs, finely chopped
- 2 medium cloves garlic, minced (about 2 teaspoons)
- 3 tablespoons juice from 3 to 4 limes
- 3 tablespoons dry red wine
- 1 tablespoon red-wine vinegar
- 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for brushing
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 2 pounds skirt steak
Prepare a grill or turn on a broiler (or gas burner). Grill or char the jalapeños until blackened on all sides and quite soft, about 5 minutes total. Place them in a small bowl covered with a plate or towel and allow the skins to steam and loosen. Peel, stem, and seed the chilis.
In a small food processor or blender, combine the jalapeños, cilantro, parsley, garlic, lime juice, red wine, olive oil, and a pinch of salt and pepper. Pulse (or blend) until the mixture is a coarse puree. Taste and adjust for salt and blend again.
If a grill is not already prepared, heat a grill pan over high heat. Rub the steaks with olive oil and season very generously with salt and pepper. Grill until medium rare, 2 to 4 minutes per side depending on thickness (center of steaks should register 125°F on an instant read thermometer). Remove to a plate and allow to rest for at least 5 minutes.
Slice the steak across the grain with the knife at a 45 degree angle. Arrange on a serving plate and spoon some chimichurri over the steak. Serve with the extra sauce.