fat free opinions on a food centric life

Herby Chimichurri on Grilled Tri-tip Steaks

Herby Chimichurri on Grilled Tri-tip Steaks

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The dog days of summer are definitely here.  No, there’s no heat coming from Sirius, the Dog Star, as the ancients believed, but it does mean quite a bit more.  To me, it’s about more than heat and humidity, especially since the average temperature here during August is about 75 degrees F.  And I know you’re tired of hearing me say it, but I’ve earned the privilege since I sweltered in our East County heat for years before moving to the coast.

At this time of the year, there’s a frenetic pace I sense when running errands or shopping.  Everyone seems to be out and about, it takes more than the usual lap around the block to find a parking place, and then it’s only a one-hour spot I’ll have to squeeze into.  License plates from as far away as New York or Massachusetts are seen here and there, but most are from Arizona. Lots of them.

The family vacation is over, Back-to-School sales are in full swing, and the few shows we watch on TV are coming to a close.  Ho.  Hum.  The only outlet besides a cool dip in the pool or a trip down to the cove is food.  So to spice things up a bit, here’s a new recipe I just tried for chimichurri which is great for all things grilled.

The first chimichurri I made was featured in the now defunct TASTE, a Williams-Sonoma quarterly publication that ran for only two years.  I loved the spicy, herby tang of the not quite marinade, not quite salsa concoction, but lost the recipe when my magazine somehow went on permanent loan to a friend.

Of course, a search ensued for a new recipe — was Google even around then? — and I arrived at The Reluctant Gourmet who not only had a traditional chimichurri recipe, but his own rendition as well.  I chose his cilantro version because I always seem to have it around. Since then, I’ve tried quite a few other versions.  If you Google chimichurri now, you’ll get nearly 400,000 results for what is sometimes called Argentine Ketchup.  No, chimichurri doesn’t have tomatoes in it, but I have included a few from time to time.

Chimichurri, like salsa, is a condiment that can be made in a variety of ways with an array of ingredients.  Most recipes include parsley, olive oil, garlic, and garlic, but from that point on, anything goes.  Although I know some recipes call for the use of a food processor, I prefer to chop everything by hand so there’s less of an emulsion.

If you have an herb garden, or love to hit the farmer’s market, chimichurri is definitely a way to spice things up a bit — especially with this particular recipe.  I happened upon this most recent chimichurri find at Urban Junkie and marked it for later use because of several factors I’d not seen in a chimichurri recipe before:

  • the “heat” came from roasted green chilies;
  • the oil needed to be warmed; and
  • four types of herbs were called for.

I knew that all the heavenly flavors in the garlic and herbs would be released in the warm oil, so I had to try it.

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Recipe Notes:

  • Good luck not having those flare ups with all that oil!  And make sure you save some chimichurri to slather over the steaks, and dip some crusty bread in.
  • I used three green chilies instead of two and the heat was perfect.
  • Click the Urban Junkie link above for the recipe so you can see all of the ingredients since I was too lazy to photoshop all of them.
  • The original recipe doesn’t expect that you peel the blackened skin off the chilies.  If you don’t, it will feel like you’ve eaten a piece of plastic wrap unless they’re roasted perfectly.  I always peel them.
  • Tri-tip roasts and steaks are a big deal at my market right now.  It is a favorite cut for barbeque and takes to rubs and marinades extremely well.  Even more attractive is the cost.  It’s nowhere near as expensive as a rib eye or t-bone.  For those of you who aren’t familiar with this cut of beef, it’s from the sirloin, and is also referred to as a bottom sirloin butt.  Picking up a tri-tip roast on sale and cutting the steaks yourself will save you even more.  If you put the roast in the freezer a bit to firm it up, it will be easier to cut.
  • In retrospect, this recipe would make a terrific marinade.  If you’re going that route, then only use half of it for that, and save the rest for slathering, dipping, and scooping.
  • We are giving this another go tonight with some lovely and huge scallops which should be fairly delectable.
  • Clearly, this recipe was excellent.