Friday, August 15, 2008

Gaucho Style Steak with Chimichurri Sauce & Watermelon Feta Salad

Last night we did a family dinner with my siblings, boyfriend and I AND one of my good friends from cooking club, her husband and sister-in-law. It was a great night of Olympics viewing with Michael Phelps continuing to break records and win golds and the US women's gymnasts also won the top two medals in the individual all-around. Anyway, onto the food...

Both recipes were new and things I had never tried before. I made a Chimichurri sauce for the first time and also tried out a Watermelon & Feta salad, which by now everyone should know that salty with sweet is one of my favorite flavor combinations. The dishes came from different sites and weren't recommended together but I am really happy with how it all worked together. As always my comments/additions are in red.

Steak Gaucho-Style with Argentinian Chimichurri Sauce
from the Food Network
serves 4 (I doubled the recipe)
Argentinian Chimichurri Sauce:
1 cup lightly packed chopped parsley (ideally, flat leaf "Italian" parsley)
3 to 5 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1/2 teaspoon chili pepper flakes
2 tablespoons fresh oregano leaves (optional) (I used a 1/2 cup of chopped cilantro)
2 tablespoons shallot or onion, minced
3/4 cup vegetable or olive oil 3
tablespoons sherry wine vinegar, or red wine vinegar (I used red wine vinegar)
3 tablespoons lemon juice

1 tablespoon cayenne pepper
3 tablespoons salt (I seasoned the steak with Montreal Steak Spice)
2 1/2 pounds rib-eye, New York strip, or sirloin steak (We used NY Strip)
1 1/2 inches thick 2 baguettes, sliced into 1/4-inch-thick slices

1. Preheat a grill.
2. Place all chimichurri sauce ingredients in a blender or food processor and pulse until well chopped, but not pureed. Reserve.
3. Dissolve cayenne pepper and salt in 1 cup hot water. Transfer to a squeeze container. (As I didn't have a squeeze bottle and had some guests who weren't fans of spicy I skipped this step but want to try if next time)
4. Place the steak directly over a hot grill, baste with the chimichurri grilling sauce, and grill until the outer portion of the meat reaches the desired degree of doneness. (We cooked it to medium rare)
5. Remove the steak from the grill and slice long strips from the outer edges of the steak.
6. Instruct guests to pick up a steak slice from the cutting board with their fingers, place it on a slice of baguette, and enjoy.
7. Return the remaining steak to the grill, baste, and grill until more of the steak is cooked. 8. Remove and repeat the slicing and serving procedure until steak is consumed. For extra spicy steak, baste 2 or 3 additional times with the cayenne pepper mixture during grilling process.
8. Spoon chimichurri sauce over steak. (Also brilliant on any grilled fish or chicken)

Watermelon Salad with Feta
Serves 6-8 (This is one of those recipes that I used the measurements as a guideline and just threw it together as I felt it worked)

1/2 cup chopped red onion
1/2 cup lime juice (4-6 limes, depending on how big and juicy the limes are)
A quarter of a medium sized watermelon, rind removed, black seeds removed (if there are any), chopped into 1-inch cube-ish pieces, about 8 cups (I bought the already cubed watermelon and just cut it into smaller pieces)
1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese
1/2 cup fresh mint leaves, chopped
1/2 cup fresh parsley leaves, chopped (I used all my parsley for the Chimichurri so I skipped this)

1. Soak the chopped red onion in the lime juice while you are prepping the other ingredients, about 15 minutes.
2. Gently combine all ingredients into a large serving bowl.
3. Serve immediately. Salad will get soggy overnight.

The salad turned out perfectly, I don't think there are any major changes I'd make. Next time I make the steak, I want to make sure to have a sqeeze bottle to baste with the cayenne pepper sauce just to amp up the spiciness. I also want to try to mix it up with the herbs a bit and do 1/2 parsley and 1/2 cilantro based on research I did on Chimichurri sauces, cilantro is a common ingredient which is why I subbed it in for the oregano, but I want to play around with the proportions next time. Overall it was a success and a great summer meal for guests, it takes just about as long to make for 2 people as for 8. Enjoy!

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