An Herbaceous Spring Meal

Note that this is not an herbivore meal: there’s definitely meat involved (though you could replace with portobellos or other meat substitute, if you wanted to). 

I’ll pause while you drool.

[Pause]

That’s a grilled NY Strip Steak that I Alex grilled and that I sliced and placed in a homemade flour tortilla with caramelized onions, a bit of tomato chili jam, and mint chimichurri sauce, with a side of roasted rosemary potatoes.

And I wanted to talk to you about the chimichurri sauce. I’ve never made this sauce before, and kind of just winged it, but the mildly amusing, haha-is-she-crazy part of the story is that for a small (estimated 3/4 cup) amount of sauce, I used 3 potent garlic cloves. Whoa! So when I tasted the sauce as I made it, I nearly knocked myself over with the smell of my own breath. However, when paired with the beautiful cut of grass-fed beef, the overwhelming garlic was not noticeable and in fact blended in the most mouth-wateringly amazing way with the meat. (Afterwards, however, Alex and I brushed our teeth about 3 times each, trying to get rid of the lingering garlic. Let’s just say no vampires haunted us in our sleep).

Lest I scare you into making your own chimichurri, let me emphasize that I used a bit too much garlic. Just a bit. One clove for that amount of sauce would have been more than sufficient (unless, you know, you find the reek of raw garlic appealing or something). One thing’s for sure: chimichurri is a beautiful way to showcase the green herbs you may be growing this spring: parsley, cilantro, basil, mint, chives, and any mixture thereof.

Spring Mint Chimichurri with Grilled NY Strip Steak 
Yum Factor: Alex – 8.9, Jessalyn 9

- handful of mint leaves (or whatever green herbs you have available)
- handful of basil leaves (or whatever green herbs you have available)
- 1 clove garlic
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 2-4 tablespoons white wine vinegar
- 1/4-1/2 cup olive oil
1. Put all ingredients except for the olive oil in a blender and pulse to combine.

2. With the blender running, slowly drizzle in the olive oil until it comes together. Taste. It should be smooth and shouldn’t sting your throat (if it does, you have too much vinegar so add a bit more oil). And it shouldn’t be overwhelmingly garlicky (if it is, try adding some more herbs). Keep in the fridge until you need it.

3. Season your grass-fed strip steak generously with salt, pepper, and garlic powder. Grill on medium-high heat for 5-9 minutes on each side, depending on the thickness and how done you want the meat. (I recommend medium-rare or medium for grass-fed meat which is leaner and therefore has different cooking times than conventionally raised meat). 

4. Let meat rest 5-10 minutes on a plate covered tightly with aluminum foil before cutting into thin slices. (If it turns out too rare for you, as it did for Alex, throw the slices in a heated cast iron pan on the stovetop for a minute or two). Drizzle the chimchurri on top and delight in the beautiful color contrast between the meat and the herby sauce.

Two things I wanted to mention here: a quick Google search will show you that chimichurris vary widely in ingredients and textures – some are chunkier and more like salsas, others are runnier (like mine). I don’t have enough training to know which is more “traditional,” but I do know that this one was gooood. If you’re plumb out of fresh herbs or don’t have a blender or food processor, I think you could achieve a similar flavor (though slightly different texture) using pesto (either fresh or store-bought). Second thing: The quality of the meat makes a huge difference. You noticed that I did not soak the steak in any fancy marinade or inject it with flavor or anything like that. A simple seasoning of salt and pepper (and maybe some garlic powder) should be all that you need to bring out the flavor in a really good cut of beef. 

And I also learned how easy it is to make homemade tortillas! And you don’t need one of those fancy tortilla presses. Always being one to delight in self-sufficiency, I am delighted to now have the confidence to make tortillas whenever and in whatever quantities I need them – whether for tacos, fajitas, enchiladas, or even breakfast burritos – rather than buying the pack of 8 or 10 at the store and agonizing over what to do with the remainder.

Flour Tortillas (adapted from this recipe)
Makes 4 tortillas 

- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 2 tablespoons lard (I use my saved bacon grease; shortening would work; haven’t tried it with butter)
- 1/2 teaspoon salt dissolved in 1/3 cup warm water
1. Cut the lard into the flour with a pastry blender or a fork or your hands. Make sure all flour has been coated and is slightly crumbly to the touch.

2. Add the salted water, a little bit at a time, and stir until it forms a dough. Knead lightly for about 3 minutes on a lightly floured surface. Divide into four pieces and roll into balls. Let rest for at least 30 minutes.

3. Heat a cast-iron skillet over medium heat. Working one at a time, lightly flour your rolling pin and roll each ball of dough out to about an 8″ round. It should be pretty thin.

4. Cook in the skillet about 1 minute on each side. Repeat for remaining dough balls. Keep warm on plate covered with foil or in a 200F oven.

It’s raining here today (again), but I’ll definitely be making this again. Give it a try and let me know what you think. Are you a chimichurri fan? What’s the key ingredient and what do you like to eat it with?

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4 thoughts on “An Herbaceous Spring Meal

  1. Dink Kreis says:

    The sauce sounds great…I’ll definitely try it. If you’re not already a fan, you might want to check out ediblearia.com. He doies a great deal of southwestern type cooking and is strictly organic.

  2. [...] interested in making any of these beauties for yourself or for someone you love, you can check out my tortilla technique here. The vegetable saute is just 1 summer squash, 2 handfuls of green beans, and about 3/4 cup frozen [...]

  3. [...] again) But as I recall, it wasn’t really your favorite. Why don’t I grill up some steak and we’ll have some chimichurri sauce with the mint from the garden? Guest: Oh, [...]

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