I'd heard about chimichurri sauce, the emerald-green concoction commonly served over grilled meats in Argentina, but I had not tried it until last night. There are many, many recipes for this sauce, all slight variations on a theme. I followed the recipe in the Gourmet Cookbook and served it over a skirt steak I'd gotten from a friend. I marinated the steak first, for a few hours, then grilled it and we spooned the sauce over it. I was craving pasta, so for kicks I tried Michael Chiarello's recipe ("My Mother's Tomato Sauce") and mixed it with linguine. It was quite a satisfying meal on a suddenly cooler day than we've had for a while.
Skirt steak, like flank steak (which you could also use here) can be very tough if improperly cooked and/or sliced. Cook it quickly to rare or medium-rare and slice it thinly on the bias, against the grain, and it will be quite tender.
Skirt Steak with Chimichurri Sauce
1 skirt steak, about 1 1/2 pounds
Juice of 1 lime
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
Salt and pepper
Put the steak on a large dish and rub all over with lime juice, olive oil, oregano, salt, and pepper. Cover and refrigerate for 1/2 hour up to overnight. Bring to room temperature, and grill about 4 1/2 minutes per side for rare to medium-rare. After taking it off the grill, let the steak sit for 5 to 10 minutes before slicing on the diagonal and against the grain into 1/4-inch slices. Arrange steak slices on individual plates and spoon the chimichurri sauce over them.
1 large garlic clove
1 1/2 cups loosely packed fresh cilantro leaves
1 1/2 cups loosely packed fresh parsley leaves
1/4 cup distilled white vinegar
1/3 cup olive oil
1/4 teaspoon cayenne
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
With motor running, add garlic to a food processor and finely chop. Add cilantro, parsley, vinegar, oil, cayenne, and salt and pulse until herbs are finely chopped.
My Mother's Tomato Sauce
Michael Chiarello, via the Food Network Web site
1 (28-ounce) can whole peeled tomatoes
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 cup finely chopped onion
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh oregano or 1 teaspoon dried
1 bay leaf
Freshly ground black pepper
Open the can of tomatoes and pour the juice into a bowl. Use the lid to press against the tomatoes to extract as much juice as possible. In the can, avoiding cutting yourself with the rim, use your hand to squeeze the tomatoes to a pulp. Re-strain out the new juices, and reserve the juice and pulp separately. Fill the empty can half full with water and set aside.
Heat the olive oil in a heavy saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the onion and cook with a pinch of salt, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 2 minutes. Add the garlic and cook until golden. Add the tomato juices and bring to a boil. Simmer rapidly until the juice thickens, then add the crushed tomato pulp, oregano, the half can of water, bay leaf, and salt and pepper, to taste. Adjust the heat to maintain a simmer and cook, stirring occasionally to prevent scorching, until the mixture thickens and reduces to about 3 1/2 cups, about 30 to 45 minutes. Discard the bay leaf.
When sauce is nearly done, heat water and boil 1 pound of linguine till al dente. Drain and add the pasta to the pan with the sauce, tossing and stirring until coated. Serve topped with parmesan cheese if desired. If you're making only a half-pound of pasta, you won't need all the sauce; leftover sauce can be frozen.