Every so often I crave red meat, and I must attend to my inner cavegirl. Usually, my mind wanders to steak; flank, skirt, sirloins, fillets, rib-eyes, I love them all. Over the years, I have found that the flavor profile of the meat and the side dish pairing is often more important than the cooking style or even the cut of meat.
I saw some pretty little sirloin steaks for sale at the market and I started with those. I love buying a great cut of meat and making enough for two nights — this works especially well when you enjoy the first round one way, the second round another. Not only does it make the second night of cooking a breeze, but cooked meat can profit from a little time in the fridge as long as its ultimate usage incorporates plenty of moisture (meat drying out is never a good thing unless you are a jerky maker).
So on the first night, I got marinating.
It was pretty simple, actually — the sirloins got a loving massage with cumin, fennel and salt and pepper, and then I allowed them to sit for an hour in a shallow bath of red wine, orange juice and a touch of olive oil.
While the raw steaks enjoyed their spa treatment, I got busy with a partner for them. I remembered that I had an open bag of Juanita’s chips (you can read about them here), and I saw two avocados sitting on the counter, looking at me expectantly. Gotcha. I decided to pair two of my favorite ingredients– fresh herbs and avocados — to make a quick sauce.
Voila! An avocado chimichurri sauce. I am sure you all have had chimichurri before (or its close cousin salsa verde) but this version I think is even better; avocados add a heft and creamy element to the dish. The end result is somewhere between a salsa and a pesto (and unfortunately the chips end up somewhere on me between my midriff and mid-thigh).
Time to cook the steaks. A quick 5 minutes or so over a rollicking flame was all they needed until they were done. They were rare initially but off the heat they continued to cook and within a few minutes they finished up a perfect medium to medium rare.
Dinner that night was a huge hit. I also made a pot of basmati rice and the chimichurri was sublime with both that and the grilled meat. Tangy, creamy, garlicky, herby — the whole package.
What might have been even better was the next night’s burritos. It was ridiculously easy — all I had to do was stuff tortillas with all the great leftovers from the night before, add a little Tillamook smoked cheddar, sour cream, give it a minute and a half nuke and they were done. Because I had some ground turkey from two night previous, I added that to it as well, making my burrito a true carnivarous blowout.
I am going to try to remember this avocado chimichirri recipe next time I make a big pot of black or pinto beans — just a couple tablespoons of this divine mix will be enough to send it into the piquant stratosphere.
- Grilled Steak:
- 2 -3 pounds flank, sirloin or flat-iron steak
- 1 Tbs. each ground cumin, dried oregano, ground fennel
- 2 cloves garlic, smashed
- 1 C. dry red wine
- ¼ C. olive oil
- salt and pepper to taste
- Avocado Chimichurri:
- 1 large bunch Italian parsley
- ½ cup total, any combination of tarragon, marjoram, oregano, basil
- 1 -2 tsp. capers (optional)
- 2 cloves chopped garlic, minced fine
- ½ C. red wine vinegar (I like Chianti)
- ¾-1 C. grapeseed or extra virgin olive oil
- 2 ripe avocados, peeled and cubed
- pinch salt and pepper
- 1 lemon, cut in half
- Marinate the steak. Pat dry the meat, rub with spices, and sprinkle with salt and pepper and smashed garlic. Drizzle the red wine and olive oil over the steaks and set aside.
- Cut and discard stems from parsley. Rinse leaves to remove possible dirt, then rinse and pat dry. Coarsely chop leaves. Do same to the rest of the herbs, focusing just on the leaves.
- Add to bowl. Add capers (if using), garlic, avocado, red wine vinegar, olive oil (amount depending on how loose and vinegary you want end result). Add tiny bit of salt and pepper to taste.
- Grill or pan fry steaks to desirable doneness. Squeeze lemon over cooked meat and let sit for a few minutes before slicing.