I’m a committed carnivore, hence tucking into Beef Tartare at the Duck & Waffle a couple of weeks ago, not to mention foie gras in Bilbao last weekend. However, I don’t eat meat every day; indeed many of my meals are meat free. But I had a rare but strong fancy for some steak today and decided to make a chimichurri sauce to go with it, Argentinian style. I’ve never made chimichurri before but my son makes a brilliant one that he’s spent time perfecting. I tried calling him for tips but couldn’t get hold of him. I’ve watched him make it but the process hasn’t burrowed deep into my memory so I had to make do instead with looking at a few recipes online and doing the best I could.
I gathered flat leaf parsley from a pot in my garden. The winter was so mild it never died down and has instead grown into a healthy big clump. And then I got together all the other ingredients:
- small bunch of parsley
- ½ teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 clove garlic
- 1 shallot
- ½ dried chilli flakes
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- juice of ½ lemon
- 2 teaspoons cider vinegar (or red wine vinegar)
- salt and pepper
Some recipes put everything in a blender; others just finely chop all the dry ingredients and mix everything together. I decided to mix it in my large granite mortar and pestle and pound it a little at the end.
First of all, de-stem the parsley and finely chop. Finely chop the garlic and shallot. Add them all to the bowl with the rest of the ingredients.
Mix well and pound a little, if you like, then transfer to a small bowl
Recipes advised making it ahead of time – from either a few minutes to a few hours. If you make it far ahead then keep in the fridge until needed and it will also keep in the fridge for a few days if you don’t use it all.
Close to suppertime, the first thing I did was cut some potatoes into chip-sized wedges, coat in olive oil, season and sprinkle with a little za’atar (a favourite addition to any roasted potatoes for me) and put into a hot oven. I never deep fry but this method makes wonderful ‘healthy’ chips.
I meant to take a photo once they were cooked – but forgot! When the ‘chips’ were nearly ready, I heated a griddle. I brushed a light coating of oil over my sirloin steak and seasoned with salt and freshly ground pepper. Being a Sunday, the only option for buying the steak was at a supermarket (unfortunately the Laverstock Farm butcher in Twickenham has recently closed down). However, I found a Hereford beef sirloin steak in Waitrose which had been hung for 30 days. And it was very good. Juicy and beautifully tender.
I cooked it very quickly on the hot griddle leaving it rare in the middle – just the way I like it.
Don’t forget to leave it to rest for a few minutes before serving. I’d planned to make a salad to go with it but found some tenderstem broccoli in the fridge which I decided I should use. I love broccoli of all kinds and lightly semi-steamed (a little water in a Le Creuset pan with tight-fitting lid) and then dressed with some olive oil and lemon juice, it’s just one of my favourite vegetables.
I put everything on a serving plate with – of course! – the chimichurri. The gorgeous garlicky, chilli-hot sauce with its wonderful freshness is a perfect accompaniment to a good steak. I love it. I thought it was a pretty good first attempt. My son Jonathan rang while I was writing this up. I told him why I’d tried to get him earlier in the day and said sometime I’ll photo-shoot him making his version – but that’s obviously for another time. Meanwhile, mine worked really well and I enjoyed my steak and chimichurri a lot.