Recipe: Churrasco Marinade with Cilantro-spiked Chimichurri Sauce
Churrasco traditionally refers to grilled meat – typically beef. However, there are as many variations as there are Latin American countries and, the variations continue in Portugal and Spanish speaking regions of Europe. Use tenderloin, skirt, or flank steak for the most classic of renderings, and serve it up with chimichurri, grilled onions, avocado, and even a fried egg. Conveniently, the marinade for the steak is the base for the chimichurri sauce. Just remember to keep a bit of the marinade aside for the sauce.
2 cups (lightly packed) fresh parsley leaves
8 cloves coarsely chopped garlic (about 3 tablespoons)
3 tablespoons fresh lime juice (from about 3 limes)
1 tablespoon sherry vinegar (optional)
¾ cup extra virgin olive oil
Coarse salt and fresh ground black pepper to season
1 ½ to 2 pound flank steak
Lime wedges, for garnish
For chimichurri sauce:
½ cup (approximate) Churrasco marinade
½ cup (lightly packed) fresh cilantro
¼ cup (lightly packed) fresh basil and mint (optional)
¼ aged-sherry vinegar (substitute red wine vinegar)
½ teaspoon crushed red pepper, or an all-purpose seasoning such as Chef Donna’s Adoro
¼ cup cold water
Place the parsley and garlic in the work bowl of a food processor fitted with a metal blade. Process until finely chopped. Add the lime and vinegar and pulse to combine. With the processor running, slowly pour in the olive oil until combined into a thick sauce. Season with salt and fresh ground pepper. Reserve about ½ cup of sauce for chimichurri sauce, if making.
Place the flank steak in a large, sturdy zip top bag or a non-reactive container. Pour the marinade over the steak and toss to coat. Marinade the steak at room temperature for no more than 1 hour, or in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours, or overnight. Remove from refrigerator about ½ hour before grilling and allow to come to room temperature.
Prepare the grill for high heat, direct grilling. Remove the steak from the marinade and blot with paper towels, or drain excess marinade from steak. Grill the steak about 2 – 3 minutes per side, for medium rare. Remove to a cutting board and tent with aluminum foil. Allow to rest for at least 5 minutes before slicing.
Prepare the Chimichurri:
Return the reserved marinade to the work bowl of the food processor. Add the cilantro, the other herbs if using, the vinegar and the red pepper. Pulse to combine. With the processor running, slowly add the water into the mixture. Season with additional salt or vinegar. The sauce should be thick and highly seasoned. Thin with additional water if necessary.
Slice the Churrasco thinly against the grain. Spoon some of the chimichurri sauce on a warmed dinner plate, and place the sliced Churrasco on top. Squeeze lime wedges over the plated Churrasco; garnish with fresh lime wedge. Serve with grilled onions, sliced avocado, and chopped fresh tomatoes. Pass the remaining sauce at the table.